PARIS - A uniformed French soldier on an antiterrorism patrol west of Paris was wounded in the neck Saturday by a robed assailant wielding a box cutter, police and subway authorities said.
The soldier was reported to be out of danger after being transported to a nearby military hospital. But the attack sent a shudder through the French capital because it recalled the gory killing of a soldier in the streets of London on Wednesday allegedly by a pair of homegrown Muslim extremists, an act that the British government called terrorism.
The attacker here was described as a young man wearing a Muslim prayer cap and a North African-style robe called a jellabah. According to a police account, he was monitored on security cameras and seen shedding his robe and fleeing in European clothes before disappearing into the crowd in a subway and suburban train entrance.
A broad manhunt was launched to track him down. President Francois Hollande, in a televised statement from Ethiopia, where he is on a state visit, urged security authorities to "look at all the possibilities" as they investigate the assault.
The attack took place at La Defense business center in the suburbs, about a mile from Arc de Triomphe. Military patrols have been deployed for months in such transit centers around Paris and other French cities as part of an antiterrorism plan.
The patrols usually comprise several soldiers in camouflage uniforms and armed with automatic rifles. There was no word, however, on what other members of the patrol did or whether anybody fired at the assailant.
French authorities have warned for months that the country is in danger of a terrorist attack in reprisal for France's military intervention in January against Islamist jihadists in northern Mali. Several thousand French soldiers remain in Mali pending arrival of a U.N. and African peace maintenance force.