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French Soldiers Attacked Outside Jewish Center in Nice, France

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A man with a knife attacked a French soldier outside a Jewish community center on Tuesday and injured a second soldier who rushed to overtake him.

Police in the southern resort city of Nice said that a suspect had been arrested, and the interior ministry said that he was about 30 and well-known to authorities. There was no immediate word on a motive.

The soldier was on an anti-terror patrol outside the center when the man slashed his face, the ministry said. Two soldiers from the same regiment rushed to overtake him, and one of those soldiers suffered an arm injury, the ministry said. Neither injury was considered life-threatening.

Mayor Christian Estrosi used his Twitter feed to thank “brave” citizens and transit workers who helped in the arrest. Sarah Baron, a union official, told The Associated Press that two other people with the attacker fled the scene, outside a building used by the Consistoire Israélite de Nice, a Jewish organization.

France is on high alert and has stepped up security outside such buildings in wake of terror attacks that left 17 people dead last month, including at Charlie Hebdo magazine massacre and a kosher supermarket.

Earlier Tuesday, the interior ministry announced the arrest of eight suspects in Paris and Lyon as part of an investigation into an alleged terror cell helping jihadists in Syria. “These individuals are suspected of active participation in the recruitment of young French people in jihadism,” it said in a statement.

Lawmaker Eric Ciotti, a member of the French parliament and chairman of the General Council of the Alpes-Maritimes, said that what happened at the Jewish center was an attack “on a symbol of the republic” and expressed solidarity with the soldiers.

— Nancy Ing and Alastair Jamieson

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