Home » ‘Backpack Hero’s’ Faith Gave Him The Strength To Fend Off Crazed Playground Knifeman

‘Backpack Hero’s’ Faith Gave Him The Strength To Fend Off Crazed Playground Knifeman

by Nolan Hawk

A young man on a pilgrimage of France’s cathedrals became an everyday hero last week when he fought off a man stabbing children in a park.

A Syrian refugee stabbed four children and two adults in an unprovoked attack at a park in the French Alps last Thursday.

31-year-old Abdelmasih Hanoun critically wounded a “3-year-old British girl, a 22-month-old Dutch boy, and two French cousins, aged 2 and 3,” according to the New York Post.

In a video, which captured the attack, Hanoun hopped a low wall into the playground and began slashing the children.

“He jumped [in the playground], started shouting and then went towards the strollers, repeatedly hitting the little ones with a knife,” a witness recalled.

“Mothers were crying, everybody was running,” another noted.

A mother was trying to fend Hanoun off from her child in a stroller, when a 24-year-old devout Catholic only identified as Henri fought him off.

Henri, a philosophy and management student, was backpacking around France’s holy sites in a months-long tour when he was in the right place at the right time.

“All I know is that I was not there by chance. On my journey to the cathedrals I crossed paths with this man and I have acted instinctively. It was unthinkable to do nothing,” Reuters reported.

In the video, Henri can be seen tossing one of his backpacks at Hanoun and pursuing him through the playground.

“We tried to scare him and make clear he could not do what he wanted,” he recalled about the chase.

Henri said that he felt an otherworldly force compel him to protect the children.

“I let myself be guided by providence and the Virgin Mary. I said my adieu. They would decide what would happen,” he remarked.

When Hanoun was arrested, French police said that he was in possession of a “Christian insignia,” and that he reportedly screamed, “In the name of Jesus Christ,” before the attack.

“It is profoundly un-Christian to attack the vulnerable,” Henry said about the act.

“The entire Christian civilization on which our country is built is a knightly message to defend widows and orphans. I think that, on the contrary, something very bad inhabited him.”

Hanoun was taken into police custody on Thursday and is being held on attempted murder charges.

He is reportedly a Syrian national that was given asylum in Sweden a decade ago and had entered France legally.

Hanoun was recently rejected for asylum in the country earlier this month and has gone through a recent divorce.

Henri has been dubbed “le héros au sac a dos,” which translates into “the backpack hero” by the French media.

He met with French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday, who tweeted out his horror over the incident.

“Attack of absolute cowardice this morning in a park in Annecy. Children and an adult are between life and death,” Macron wrote. “The Nation is in shock.”

Henri is shaken by the events, but vowed to try to make something good come out of it.

“I now have all these horrible images in my head. I need to try and turn that into something positive,” he commented.

Henri plans to continue his walking tour to show his social media followers “how the beauty of the cathedrals can nourish us and help us do the right thing.”

“Because of these events, I will be able to reach more people. I thank heaven,” he concluded.

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