Police shoot woman who threatened to blow herself up at Paris train station

No explosives or weapons were found on the woman as authorities open investigations into incident

French police officers guard the entrance of a metro station after a woman making threats on a train was shot and wounded in Paris. AFP
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French police shot and seriously wounded an unarmed woman after she threatened to blow herself up at a train station in Paris during morning rush hour on Tuesday.

The Paris prosecutor's office said an officer fired a single shot “because they feared for their safety” after the woman refused to follow police orders and made threats, including saying "you're all going to die".

She suffered a life-threatening wound to her abdomen.

No explosives or weapons were found on the woman, a police source said.

Agents had earlier “isolated” the woman at the Bibliotheque Francois Mitterrand station on the French capital's south bank, which was evacuated, after passengers on a suburban train alerted police.

Government spokesman Olivier Veran said that when police arrived "they pulled the woman aside and first asked her to calm down, but also to show her hands to show they presented no particular danger".

"What happened then was that law enforcement officers had no option but to open fire on this woman given the danger of the situation," he said.

Paris police chief Laurent Nunez said the woman's identity was yet to be confirmed.

Police have launched two investigations, prosecutors said.

One will focus on the woman's actions while the other will establish whether the police shooting was justified.

Mr Veran said there had been "at least three" calls from passengers to rail operator SNCF regarding Tuesday's incident. The company alerted police.

"Police, evaluating the situation to be dangerous, opened fire," he said.

Footage from the officers' bodycams and from CCTV at the station would help establish the facts of the case, he said.

Mr Veran said the woman had a previous conviction for threatening soldiers.

"We will know more in the coming hours," he said.

Two police sources confirmed the woman was previously put on a radicalisation watch list, although it was not certain whether her name was still on the list.

Fears of violence have grown in France since October 13, when a teacher in the northern city of Arras was stabbed to death by a former pupil.

Authorities in the country, which has Europe's largest Jewish community and the largest Muslim population in western Europe, have feared further attacks following the October 7 raid by Hamas on Israel, which has retaliated with attacks on Gaza.

Bomb alerts have led to the evacuation of airports, train stations and tourist sites in recent weeks.

On Monday, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said there had been 819 anti-Semitic acts in France since October 7 and 414 arrests in related cases.

Updated: October 31, 2023, 2:39 PM