FRANCE – A hooded man stabbed a woman to death at a retirement home for missionaries in southern France triggering a manhunt, with the country still on edge following a string of jihadist attacks.The man, brandishing a sawn-off shotgun and a knife, tied up and killed the woman who worked at the home in the village of Montferrier-sur-Lez near the city of Montpellier, a prosecutor said.
More than 70 men and women, most of whom served as missionaries in Africa, live at the home.
Armed police searched the building but believe the man fled, sources close to the police operation said, and a large-scale police operation was underway to find the unidentified attacker.
Investigators so far had no evidence to suggest the attack was terror-related at a time when France remains under a state of emergency after a number of Islamist atrocities, including the murder of an elderly Catholic priest in July.
"For the time being, there is only one victim . "For the moment there is no particular evidence about the motive for this crime."The man was not known to authorities.
Residents of the home "are very elderly with an average age of 75 although some are more than 90," said Alain Berthet, a local councillor in Montferrier-sur-Lez.
Many of the residents require assistance to walk, he said.
The secretary general of the French Bishops' Conference, Olivier Ribadeau Dumas, said in a Twitter message: "Our petitions today evening time go to the lady who lost her life in this assault on a retirement home."
Around two hours after the assailant burst into the home, more than twelve police and crisis vehicles lined the streets close to the home while police set up barriers to check vehicles going through the region.
A substantial security border, extending for a few hundred meters (yards), had been set up and officers from world class equipped unit RAID were on the scene.
France is under a highly sensitive situation that gives security strengths upgraded forces of observation and capture.
Islamist fanatics have done three expansive scale assaults in France since January 2015, when shooters focused on the Charlie Hebdo ironical magazine and a Jewish general store.
After ten months, Islamic State jihadists slaughtered 130 individuals in assaults on the Bataclan show corridor, France's national stadium and a modest bunch of bars and eateries in eastern Paris.
Furthermore, in July, a self-radicalized fanatic furrowed a truck into group watching Bastille Day firecrackers in the southern city of Nice, killing 86.
After two weeks, two jihadists in their 20s asserting to be IS devotees opening the throat of 84-year-old minister Jacques Hamel at a congregation close to the northern city of Rouen.