France's Macron thanks responders in Annecy attack

STORY: President Emmanuel Macron met with police and first responders in Annecy on Friday, commending them for their response in Thursday's knife attack in the Alpine town.

Four toddlers and two pensioners were wounded after being attacked at a playground.

MACRON: "As president, I am very proud of you, very proud of what has been done by fellow citizens who just happened to be there, very proud of the place and the role that everyone played - yours and ours."

Macron, who has called the attack an "act of absolute cowardice," visited the hospital in nearby Grenoble where three of the four children are being treated.

The two children who had been most seriously injured were in stable condition on Friday and doctors are optimistic for their recovery, said the President.

Annecy's Cathedral held a Mass on Friday night in tribute to the victims.

In attendance at both events was Henri, a catholic pilgrim who has been dubbed the “backpack hero”.

The 24-year-old came face-to-face with the assailant.

In videos posted on social media, he can be seen using his backpack as a shield to try to block the attack.

Police have arrested the suspected attacker -- a homeless 31-year-old Syrian national.

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne confirmed he had been granted asylum in Sweden 10 years ago and was in the country legally.

He had filed another asylum request in France -- which was rejected last week.

Authorities say there is no indication that terrorism was the motivation for the attack.

The suspect is currently under investigation for attempted murder.