Petanque is to old French guys what bocce is to old Italian guys. Petanque balls are virtually always made of steel with a hollow center. And given the disarmed French civilian populace, a set of petanque balls is about as effective as it legally gets on the streets of Paris when it comes to armed self-defense.
Three of the victims were standing outside a movie theater along the Canal de l’Ourcq when the attacker set upon them with a massive blade and “iron bar,” witnesses said.
The others were randomly targeted in the street.
Seven tourists and locals were injured. A number of people chased the attacker as he moved down the street.
“There were around 20 people chasing him. They started throwing petanque balls at him,” Najah said, referring to the sport popular in France also known as boules.
“Around four or five balls hit him in the head, but they weren’t able to stop him,” he added.
They eventually tacked and disarmed him. The cause of the attack remains a mystery.
“Nothing at this stage shows signs of a terrorist nature in these assaults,” police sources told the Agence France-Presse. They said the attacker was going after “strangers.”
The attack is just the latest in a long line of knife rampages to go down in France this year. Terrorism, however, has been ruled out in almost every incident.