PARIS - The stabbing of a French soldier near Paris by a man who is still on the run bore the hallmarks of Islamist terrorism, the French interior minister said on Sunday, and police said it may have been inspired by the murder of a British serviceman in London.
Anti-terrorism investigators are hunting for a bearded man aged about 30, possibly of North African origin, who fled into a crowded train station after attacking the 23-year-old soldier from behind with a knife or a box-cutter on Saturday.
The French soldier survived the mid-afternoon attack, which was carried out three days after a British soldier was hacked to death on a busy London street by two men shouting Islamist slogans.
"There are indeed elements that lead us to believe it (the French attack) could be an act of terrorism," Interior Minister Manuel Valls told France 5 television. "I won't say any more at this stage as the investigation is only beginning."
Police union UNSA spokesman Christophe Crepin said there were similarities with the British attack.
"I think this person wanted to imitate what happened in London," he told Itele television, echoing the defense minister who said the soldier had been targeted because of his uniform.