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Two dead in knife attack at Marseille train station

Police urge people to avoid Saint-Charles station area after incident in which knife-wielding man attacked people.

Saint-Charles train station in Marseille

Two people, including one woman, are dead following a knife attack at the main train station in the Mediterranean port city of Marseille, according to the French interior ministry.

Xavier Tarabeux, a local prosecutor, says the assailant has been shot by soldiers patrolling there, while Marseille police are urging people to avoid the area around Saint-Charles station.

French police confirmed reports that the knife-wielding man had been shot and killed in the attack, which occurred at 1:45pm local time (11:45 GMT) on Sunday.

"Two victims have been stabbed to death," Olivier de Mazieres, the regional police chief, told AFP news agency, referring to the attack at the Saint-Charles station, the most important train hub in the southern French city.

Reuters news agency reported quoting a police source that the victims suffered gory injuries: one victim's throat was slit while the other was stabbed in the stomach.

Another police source said the suspect was estimated to be aged between 25-30 years and no had no identification papers on him.

French anti-terrorism authorities are reported to be investigating the attack.

France's SNCF railways body advised people to drop plans to travel to and from Marseille's train station.

The deaths in Marseille come with the country still on high alert following a series of deadly attacks which began in January 2015 when assailants stormed the offices of the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, killing 12.

The government has since launched Operation Sentinelle, deploying about 7,000 troops across the country to guard high-risk areas such as transport hubs, tourist sites and religious buildings.

The attacks since 2015 have left 239 people dead, according to an AFP count before Sunday's incident.

Gerard Collomb, France's interior minister, said on Twitter that he would travel to Marseille immediately.

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