The incident is being treating the incident as a possible terrorist attack.
The policeman was behind the wheel of a car in front of a police station at 6.30 am he was attacked.
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Interior minister Gérald Darmanin later clarified that the officer had not been physically injured, thanks to his bulletproof vest.
Victime d’un coup de couteau, le policier n’a heureusement pas été blessé physiquement, grâce à son gilet pare-balles. https://t.co/uGqdnSiX0L
— Gérald DARMANIN (@GDarmanin) November 8, 2021
French media reported that four police officers, including a young officer and a trainee, were about to go on patrol and were in their car, parked in an alleyway at the back of the Cannes central police station.
The assailant is reported to have approached and used the excuse of a request for information to have the rear window opened. The man struck one officer with a knife in the chest – hitting his bullet-proof vest.
Laurent Martin de Frémont, spokesman for the Unité SGP Police-FO union, told Le Parisien: “The officer’s clothes and bulletproof vest were in a catastrophic state. It shows you the strength, the will, the power of the gesture. The clothes were torn, the bullet-proof vest was attacked right down to the plate that protects us.
“In other words, we are dealing with someone who wanted to kill a cop.”
The incident is being treated as a possible terrorist attack, and Darmanin announced he was heading to the scene.
The attacker was severely injured by another police officer who opened fire, and was in a serious condition.
French police have been targeted in a series of attacks from Islamic extremists in recent years, leading to calls for better protection and harsher jail sentences.
In April, a police employee was stabbed to death in the secure entrance to a station in the quiet Paris commuter town of Rambouillet, while an officer was seriously wounded in a knife attack near the western city of Nantes in May.
In October 2019, three officers and one police employee in Paris were stabbed to death in the headquarters of the Paris police by a radicalised IT employee.
Each attack has sharpened attention on the danger of Islamic extremism in France, which has suffered a wave of violence over the last decade from radicals inspired by al-Qaeda or the Islamic State group.