International News

Young Catholic Man Saves Kids in French Park Attack


A woman pays respect in front of messages and floral tributes at the children’s playground in Annecy, France, June 9, 2023, the day after several children and adults were injured in a knife attack at the Le Paquier park near the lake. French media hailed Henri, a Catholic pilgrim, as “the hero with a backpack” after he was shown in a video grappling with the assailant and charging after him during the knife attack that critically wounded four children between the ages of 22 months and 3 years old, and also injured two adults. (OSV News photo)

by The Tablet Staff

PROSPECT HEIGHTS — A young French Catholic is being credited with saving four children and two adults who were wounded in an attack at a playground in the French Alpine town of Annecy.

The man named Henri has been on a 9-month tour visiting cathedrals across the country. In March, he started an Instagram page, Le_Chant_Des_Cathedrals, to share the pictures and videos of the cathedrals that he visits. The page now has around 75,000 followers. “Henri, 24 years old, in love with cathedrals,” his Instagram profile reads.

On Thursday June 8 Henri saw a man trying to stab children. Risking his life, he intervened to stop the man from attacking them. Quoting government officials, Reuters reported that the “suspected assailant was a Syrian refugee.”

Four children and two adults were wounded in the attack. “Two of the wounded children and one adult were in hospital in a life-threatening condition, while the other victims were less seriously hurt,” according to Reuters. 

Police have identified the suspect as 31-year-old homeless man Abdelmasih Hanoun, according to the Times of London. He reportedly yelled “In the name of Jesus Christ” as he attacked. 

Social media users are praising Henri for his courageous intervention.