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Two police officers approached two sleeping men and asked them to move on. One then pulled out a knife and refused to drop it when asked.
The motivation for the attack was still not known and the investigation has not so far found evidence to classify it as an act of terrorism, another source close to the inquiry said.
Knife attacks by disgruntled people in public places and schools to highlight their grievances periodically occur in China.
Petanque, a typically Gallic pastime played by some 20 million French in which a ball is slowly rolled along the gravelly ground, is ubiquitous in Parisian courtyards in summer months.
Witnesses cited by French media said a group of men playing boules threw heavy metal balls that are used in the popular game at the attacker, with one hitting him on the head and stalling him.
Seven people including two British tourists were wounded Sunday in Paris when attacked by a man armed with a knife and an iron bar, according to police and other sources.
Panic broke out at the Dutch capital's main station shortly after midday Friday when the knive-wielding man stabbed two bystanders before he was shot and wounded by police.
The accused had gone to attack rival group member Rancho at his house to avenge the death of one Abhishek on August 20.
The Netherlands has so far been spared from the slew of terror attacks which have rocked its closest European neighbours in the past few years.
The man was later shot and killed by police, a local government official said. It was unclear if the violence was terror-related amid reports the violence might be linked to a family dispute.
Belga news agency reported that the man -- who has not been named -- entered the restaurant and began stabbing people, killing his former partner and her mother and wounding several other people.
Lone Palestinian attackers have carried out multiple deadly stabbings and car-rammings against Israelis in recent years.
A man armed with a kitchen knife attacked passengers on a crowded city bus in northern Germany before being overpowered and arrested.
Abdul Hakim A, also 20, was detained Sunday in the eastern city of Strasbourg, where the two men grew up.
France's ethnic Chechens, mindful that many of their youth have fought jihad in Iraq or Syria, sought Monday to reckon with the deadly Islamist knife rampage in Paris by one of their own.