Paris officials have opened a terror investigation into Friday's double-stabbing near the former offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
Two suspects, whose identities have not been released, have been arrested in connection to the attack. Sources told Reuters that one of the suspects is Pakistani while the other is said to be Algerian.
It remains unclear exactly what prompted the attack, however, the investigation was opened into “attempted murder in relation with a terrorist enterprise,” due to the timing and place of the incident, according to France’s counterterrorism prosecutor’s office.
The attack occurred in front of the building where Charlie Hebdo was based up until their offices were attacked by the Islamic extremists in 2015, killing about a dozen people. Friday's stabbing also erupted at a time when suspects in the 2015 attack were on trial across town.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex noted the “symbolic site” of the attack, “at the very moment where the trial into the atrocious acts against Charlie Hebdo is underway.” He promised the government’s “unfailing attachment to freedom of the press, and its determination to fight terrorism.”
Authorities initially told reporters that four people had been injured, however, an official told the Associated Press that there are in fact only two confirmed wounded. Police could not explain the discrepancies.
The two people confirmed injured worked for documentary film company Premieres Lignes, who had stepped outside for a smoke break, according to founder Paul Moreira.
Moreira told BFM television that the attacker targeted "two people who were in front of the building, didn’t enter the building, and who attacked them with an ax and who left.”
He noted that staff members were later evacuated and that the company had not received any threats.
After the stabbing, police quickly flooded the neighborhood in eastern Paris near the Richard Lenoir subway station, which remained cordoned off hours later. Additionally, children were sequestered in nine schools while police scoured the area, but were later released, according to the Paris school district.
Police also cordoned off the area, including the former Charlie Hebdo offices, after a suspect package was noticed nearby. However, the package was deemed harmless and no explosives were found, according to a police official.
The trial in the Charlie Hebdo attacks is currently underway. Murmurs broke at the terrorism trial of 14 people, including three fugitives, accused of helping the attackers in the January 2015 killings, as the news filtered through. The widows of the Charlie Hebdo attackers are scheduled to testify Friday afternoon.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.