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US tourists hospitalized after acid attack in France

Four young women from the US have been hospitalized after being sprayed with acid at a train station in the French city of Marseille. French officials said the suspected assailant appeared to be mentally disturbed.

Four American students were attacked with acid inside a train station in the southern port city of Marseille on Sunday, French authorities said. All four were from Boston College, a private Jesuit university in Massachusetts and in their 20s. They were treated at a hospital, two of them for shock. 

Marseille's Saint-Charles train station (picture alliance/Arco Images/G. Thielmann)

The attack took place in Marseille's Saint-Charles train station

The suspected assailant, a 41-year-old woman, sprayed the young women in the face with hydrochloric acid. The morning attack took place inside the Mediterranean port city's Saint-Charles train station.

The women were discharged from the hospital in the afternoon.

"It appears that the students are fine, considering the circumstances, though they may require additional treatment for burns," Nick Gozik, who directs Boston College's Office of International Programs. "We have been in contact with the students and their parents and remain in touch with French officials and the US Embassy regarding the incident."

Read more: Police investigate series of random acid attacks on women in Berlin

Suspect suffers from psychological issues

The suspected attacker was arrested at the scene and appeared to be mentally disturbed, authorities said.

The 41-year-old woman did not make any terrorist threats or declarations during the attack, the prosecutor's office told AP.

Marseille police said that the woman targeted people who were standing closest to her and did not choose her victims based on nationality, AFP reported.

The source added that the incident "was not of a terrorist nature," adding that the suspect was known to the police for theft.

Read more: London acid attacks — police arrest two teenagers

US consulate officials in Marseille were in contact with French authorities about the attack investigation and the condition of the US tourists, said a spokesperson for the US embassy in Paris.

Last month, a woman died after a driver deliberately rammed into two bus stops in Marseille, but police said the incident wasn't terror-related.

rs/kl  (AP, AFP, dpa)

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