A French woman and her three young daughters were severely injured when they were stabbed at a holiday resort on Tuesday by a Moroccan-born man who reportedly shouted that they were too scantily dressed.
The man was arrested after the attack at the Alpine resort of Garde-Colombe, near Laragne, in southern France.
The youngest girl, aged 8, was rushed to hospital in Grenoble with a punctured lung, according to initial reports.
Her mother, 46, and sisters aged 12 and 14, are being treated at the hospital of Gap, closer to the scene of the attack. Their injuries are serious but not life-threatening, hospital sources said.
Initial reports claimed the man struck because he was angered by the women being “scantily dressed,” but a local prosecutor has denied this.
Raphaël Balland, prosecutor of Gap, said: “I wanted to quash the rumour currently doing the rounds because on no account did this man make such comments about the fact that the attack may have been motivated by the victims’ dress code.”
The attacker, named as Mohamed B, 37, “may have acted out of religious motives”, French television channel TF1 reported.
Despite the prosecutor’s denial, TF1 reported that he was angry that the girls were wearing shorts.
The mother had helped the attacker when he became ill the previous day, TF1 said. He stabbed the girls while they breakfasted on the terrace of their chalet and then went inside and knifed their mother.
The 8-year-old was rushed to hospital in Grenoble with a punctured lung. Her mother, 46, and sisters aged 12 and 14, are being treated at the hospital of Gap, closer to the scene of the attack. Their injuries are severe but not considered life-threatening.
The attack took place around 10 am. The assailant stabbed the three girls on the terrace of of their chalet before attacking their mother inside. He stabbed her in the chest, the newspaper Dauphine Liberé reported.
The Moroccan-born attacker has a police record for petty crimes over the past 15 years.
He is reported to have been on holiday at the resort with his pregnant wife and two children. The two families were staying next to each other and the assailant’s wife is “devastated”, according to the mayor.