11:12Facebook Activated Safety Check in Paris Only After Terror Attack

11:12Facebook Activated Safety Check in Paris Only After Terror Attack

A 34-year-old man and a 54-year-old woman were seriously wounded and rushed to hospital.

The knifeman who killed one man and wounded four other people Saturday night in Paris had been on an anti-terror watchlist of suspected extremists, sources close to the inquiry told AFP on Sunday.

The attacker reportedly shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest) before stabbing his victims.

The Islamic State group's Aamaq news agency said in a statement on early Sunday that the assailant carried out the attack in response to the group's calls for supporters to target members of the United States-led military coalition squeezing the extremists out of Iraq and Syria.

"I was working in the restaurant and suddenly I heard a woman screaming ... he came and attacked her", said Jonathan, a witness working nearby who wouldn't provide his last name. There is no known motive for the attack at this time.

French interior minister Gerard Collomb tweeted: Aggression to #Paris: I salute the cool composure and responsiveness of the police forces that have neutralised the assailant. "They encircled him and he tried to attack them with a knife but they shot him down", he told reporters. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack. Investigators have not yet said when the man arrived in France.

"Just before 9pm, we saw people rushing inside the restaurant screaming that a man was inside with a bloody knife, ' a witness called Laurent told Le Parisien newspaper".

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According to a Paris police statement on Twitter, two of the wounded are in serious condition from the attack in the capital's Opera district. He said a young man tried to fend off the assailant who then fled.

A picture seen by Reuters, which a source said showed the attacker, showed a bare-chested and bearded young man dressed in black pants.

French authorities are denouncing a knife attack in central Paris that French media say left two dead including the assailant.

Two hours after the attack French authorities announced they were launching a terrorism investigation. "We were told to get into a bar quickly".

Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, said: Tonight our city was bruised.

In November 2015, Paris suffered a series of coordinated terrorist attacks that killed 130 people, including 89 at the Bataclan theatre.