PARIS (CBS/AP) — Four female American students studying in France were attacked with acid Sunday at a train station in Marseille and a 41-year-old woman has been arrested as their alleged assailant, the Marseille prosecutor’s office said.
Two of the women suffered facial injuries during the late morning attack at Marseille’s Saint Charles train station and one of the two also had a possible eye injury, a spokeswoman for the Marseille prosecutor’s office told The Associated Press in a phone call.
All four young women have been identified as students at Boston College in Massachusetts.
The private Jesuit university said in a statement Sunday that the four female students were treated for burns at a Marseille hospital after they were sprayed in the face with acid on Sunday morning. The statement said the four all were juniors studying abroad, three of them at the college’s Paris program.
The director of the college’s Office of International Programs, Nick Gozik, said the women have been released from the hospital and “it appears that the students are fine, considering the circumstances.”
The students were identified as Courtney Siverling, Charlotte Kaufman, Michelle Krug and Kelsey Korsten.
Boston College says police described the female suspect as “disturbed.”
A French spokeswoman said the suspect did not make any extremist threats or declarations during the attack. She said there were no obvious indications that the woman’s actions were terror-related but added that officials could not completely rule out terror as a motive so early in the investigation.
The spokeswoman spoke on condition of anonymity, per the custom of the French judicial system.
The Marseille fire department was alerted just after 11 a.m. and dispatched four vehicles and 14 firefighters to the train station, a department spokeswoman said.
Marseille is a port city in southern France that is closer to Barcelona than Paris.
In previous incidents in Marseille, a driver deliberately rammed into two bus stops last month, killing a woman, but officials said it wasn’t terror-related.
In April, French police said they thwarted an imminent “terror attack” and arrested two suspected radicals in Marseille just days before the first round of France’s presidential election. Paris prosecutor Francois Molins told reporters the two suspects “were getting ready to carry out an imminent, violent action.” In January 2016, a 15-year-old Turkish Kurd was arrested after attacking a Jewish teacher on a Marseille street. He told police he acted in the name of the Islamic State group.
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