France has suffered at least 70,478 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and at least 8,078 deaths.
Now, France has launched a terror investigation into a knife attack that killed two people and wounded five others in southeast France.
The attack happened in a small town named Romans-sur-Isère. It is located in the Drome department.
French prosecutors say that the suspect is a Sudanese refugee in his 30s who entered a tobacconist shop and stabbed two customers to death.
He attempted to kill five others, but they survived teh attacks.
By the time French police arrived to apprehend the man, they found him "on his knees on the pavement praying in Arabic."
Now, the knife attack is being investigated as an act of terrorism.
All of this happened as the country is reeling from one of the highest mortality rates of COVID-19 worldwide.
More details below:
Witnesses said that the Sudanese man shouted "Alluha Akbar" during the attack.
It is a phrase commonly uttered by terrorists. It means "Allah is greater [than everything]."
The timing of the attack is being decried as soulless, especially as France is one of the hardest hit countries by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The BBC confirms that the unnamed suspect was a Sudanese refugee:
The attacker entered a tobacconist shop in Romans-sur-Isère, near Grenoble, and stabbed the owners and a customer.
He then attacked more people at two other shops before being arrested.
Prosecutors said the suspect was a Sudanese refugee in his 30s who lived in the town. Two other people have also been arrested, police said.
At the time of his arrest on Saturday, the man was "found on his knees on the pavement praying in Arabic", prosecutors said.
David Olivier Reverdy, of the National Police Alliance union, said the man had asked police to kill him.
Counter-terrorism prosecutors said they had launched an investigation into "murder linked to a terrorist enterprise".
The suspect was not previously known to the police or intelligence services, news website France Bleu reported.
On a visit to the town, Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said: "This morning, a man embarked on a terrorist journey."
Town mayor Marie-Helene Thoraval told AFP news agency that after leaving the tobacconist, the suspect went to a butcher's shop where he grabbed another knife before attacking people queuing outside a bakery.
The butcher's shop owner, Ludovic Breyton, said: "He took a knife, jumped over the counter, and stabbed a customer, then ran away. My wife tried to help the victim but in vain."
In a statement, the prosecutor's office said initial investigations suggest the attacker had "a determined murderous course aimed at seriously disturbing public order by intimidation or terror".
Various countries in the EU have been criticized for their open border policies.
Many Democrats in the United States have wanted more relaxed immigration laws.
Republicans fear that these proposals would eventually lead to open borders in our own country.
However, as COVID-19 rages rampantly, President Trump's statement has resonated with many: "Border security is health security."
While there is currently no specific plan set in motion, there has been talking of the EU disbanding if the COVID-19 crisis gets bad enough.
President Trump has consistently called for vetting and a merit-based system to let people into the United States.
Authorities have arrested at least 2 other suspects, though their citizenship status has not been reported.
The French authorities have not released the identities of any of the suspects.
Though France is in lockdown mode, people are allowed to go to markets to get food and other essential supplies.
The UK Telegraph confirms that eyewitnesses claim the man shouted terroristic verbiage:
Two people were killed and at least four others injured, one critically, in a suspected terrorist attack in the small southern French town of Romans-sur-Isère on Saturday.
A man was arrested minutes after the knife attack in shops and on the high street. Prosecutors are trying to establish whether the motive was terrorism. Witnesses told reporters that the assailant shouted “Allahu Akbar” during the attack.
The suspect is a Sudanese asylum-seeker, 33, who lives near the scene of the attack, prosecutors in the nearby city of Valence said. He was not previously known to police.
David Olivier Reverdy, a police union spokesman, said: “This appears to have all the elements of a terrorist attack. The investigation will confirm whether that is the case.”
Truly... border security is health security.
Many observers note that this attack is cruel and heartless, especially as people embrace social distancing measures to keep themselves and others safe.
Furthermore, many observers on social media have criticized the French police for claiming that the motive is unclear, when the man was seen shouting "Alluha Akbar."
He was later on his knees praying in Arabic when the police came to arrest him.
It's important to let the authorities do their job, but this incident appears to have all the basic components of an Islamic terror attack.