At least four people have been stabbed close to the former headquarters of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris.
Two victims are fighting for their lives after the brutal attack which was carried out with a meat cleaver, witnesses said.
Police initially feared two men had carried out the attack but now they believe it is only one, who has now been arrested.
Two of the victims have been confirmed as a man and a women who are employees of Premieres Lignes, a French news and video agency, according to Le Monde.
The pair work in the production team for the company which has released a number of documentaries, previously winning the Pulitzer Prize for work on the Panama Papers investigation.
The attacker was spotted with blood on his clothes near the Opera Bastille, and two of the victims are fighting for their lives.
Prosecutors are investigating whether the attacker had links to terrorist groups.
At least four people have been stabbed close to the former headquarters of Charlie Hebdo magazine in Paris
Two of the victims are in ‘an extremely bad way’, said an investigating source, following the attacks on Friday afternoon
Police initially feared two men had carried out the attack but now they believe it is only one, who has now been arrested
The official said police are still searching the area while they question the arrested suspect.
Two of the victims are in ‘an extremely bad way’, said an investigating source, following the attacks on Friday afternoon.
He said two people were initially seen running away and a suspect device was also found.
It is unclear what motivated the attack or whether it had any link to Charlie Hebdo, which moved offices after they were attacked by Islamic extremists in 2015.
French soldiers rush to the scene after people were injured following the attack by a man wielding a knife
Witness Hassani Erwan, 23, told AFP: ‘At around midday, we went to have lunch at a restaurant but as we were arriving, the owner started to cry ‘leave, leave, there’s an attack!’
‘We immediately ran away and locked ourselves ourselves inside a shop with four other customers.’
Richard Lenoir, who lives on the street, told Le Parisien: ‘It’s starting again, the same fear there was five years ago, the same images in the street, it’s heart-breaking.’
Charlie Hebdo (former offices pictured) now publishes from a secret address in Paris, and many staff members have bodyguards
Police said there was ‘extreme concern’ today that those responsible for the stabbings might strike again
Police said there was ‘extreme concern’ today that those responsible for the stabbings might strike again.
Local schools in the 3rd, 4th and 11th arrondissements have been shut down, and people are being advised to stay in their offices and homes.
Valérie Pécresse, president of the Ile-de-France region of Paris, said: ‘Extremely shocked by the murderous attack near the former offices of Charlie Hebdo, in a Paris arrondissement which has already paid a heavy price for violent terrorism.
‘I give all my support to the authorities which are now tracking the perpetrator.’
Charlie Hebdo now publishes from a secret address in Paris, and many staff members have bodyguards.
Local schools in the 3rd, 4th and 11th arrondissements have been shut down, and people are being advised to stay in their offices and homes
It comes as a trial takes place in the French capital concerned with the January 2015 attacks that shocked the world after 12 people died.
Their primary targets were staff at the satirical magazine which had published a series of cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammed.
The principal terrorists – who were all known to the French security services – were all gunned down by police themselves, but 14 defendants are currently on trial facing life in prison for ‘complicity in terrorism’.
Friday’s attack took place close to the old Charlie Hebdo offices, which were attacked by Paris-born brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi in 2015.
An armed police officer stands at the scene of the horrific stabbings as two fight for their lives after the attack
A large police presence was seen immediately after the stabbings as schools and the Metro were shut down
Two of the victims have been confirmed as a man and a women who are employees of Premieres Lignes, a French news and video agency
It marked the opening of the criminal trial by re-publishing cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammed.
Critics said the publication had deliberately used blasphemy to stir up hatred against Muslims around the world.
The deeply incendiary images originally led to riots across the Muslim world when they were first published in the Danish daily Jyllands-Posten on September 30, 2005.
Charlie Hebdo then published them in full in 2006, leading its writers and cartoonists to receive regular death threats.
This led up to the atrocities of 2015, when the Kouachis stormed into their offices and opened fire.
Police and emergency vehicles are pictured at the scene after the gun rampage at the Charlie Hebdo offices in 2015 which left 12 people dead
The Kouachi brothers, Cherif (left) and Said (right), entered Charlie Hebdo’s premises and carried out the brutal attack five years ago
Despite this, the latest Charlie Hebdo carries the cartoons on its front page, under the headline ‘All that for that’.
The landmark trial has seen defendants facing a variety of charges including obtaining weapons and providing logistical support to the killers.
Three of the accused are being tried in absentia, as it is believed they went to fight for Islamic State in Syria.
A message of solidarity with Charlie Hebdo – containing the popular slogan ‘je suis Charlie’ (meaning ‘I am Charlie’) – is laid out in Paris after the attack in 2015
This court sketch shows the fourteen accused and their lawyers at the opening of the trial of the accomplices in jihadist killings in 2015
The Kouachi brothers died during a shootout with police at a printing office northwest of Paris two days after the Charlie Hebdo attack.
On 8 January 2015, Amédy Coulibaly shot dead a police officer, Clarissa Jean-Philippe, in the Paris suburb of Montrouge.
The next day day, he took hostages at the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in Vincennes, executing store employee Yohan Cohen and customers Philippe Braham, François-Michel Saada and Yoav Hattab before being killed in a police raid.