Acid Attack On 4 Boston College Students Not Seen As Terror Act

People walk on a platform to take a train, at the Saint-Charles railway station in Marseille, southern France, June, 1, 2016. (Claude Paris/AP)
People walk on a platform to take a train, at the Saint-Charles railway station in Marseille, southern France, June, 1, 2016. (Claude Paris/AP)

Four Boston College students studying abroad were attacked with acid Sunday at a train station in the French city of Marseille by a woman described by police as "disturbed."

French authorities do not think extremist views motivated the 41-year-old who was arrested as the alleged assailant, the local prosecutor's office said.

According to a statement on the incident by Boston College, the students were identified as juniors Courtney Siverling, Charlotte Kaufman, Michelle Krug, who are enrolled in Boston College's Paris program; and junior Kelsey Korsten, who is a student at the Copenhagen Business School in Denmark.

The statement said the four female students were treated for burns at a hospital after the late morning attack at Marseille's Saint Charles train station.

Krug wrote on Facebook that she was one of two women who got hit in the eye with "a weak solution of hydrochloric acid." She said she's planning to continue her "incredible opportunity" to study in France.

The spokeswoman for the Marseille prosecutor's office 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.

The regional newspaper La Provence, quoting unidentified police officials, reported that the suspect had a history of mental health problems and noted that she remained at the site of the attack without trying to flee.

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.

A spokesman for the United States embassy in Paris said the U.S. consulate in Marseille was in contact with French authorities.

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.

With reporting by The Associated Press and the WBUR Newsroom

This article was originally published on September 17, 2017.



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