Marseille, France – Four female American college students were hospitalized on Sunday following an acid attack at a train station. The victims, who are juniors from Boston College, were treated with burns. Two had facial injuries, while one may have possibly suffered from an eye injury.

Students attacked at Marseille train station

The attack started at about 11 AM at the Marseille-Saint Charles train station and a group of fourteen firefighters in four rescue vehicles promptly responded. While investigators are not considering this a terrorist attack, it has not been ruled out this early in the investigation. However, a spokeswoman for the Marseille prosecutor’s office said that the suspect did not make extremist threats.

According to Boston College, the women who were attacked were enrolled in the school’s international programs. Three of them are attending school in Paris, while one is a student from the Copenhagen Business School in Denmark. Nick Gozik, the director of the college’s Office of International Programs, said in a statement that the students seemed to be alright, however, they may require additional treatment.

Acid attacks escalating across Europe

Acid Attacks have actually been escalating across Europe, a concern that authorities are taking seriously, as this could become a “weapon of choice” for potential terrorist attacks. However, they are not considering the attacks on the students to be terrorism. The female suspect apparently has a history of mental health problems. She was arrested at the scene.

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The Paris prosecutor’s office also noted that its counter-terrorism division, which is responsible for all terror-related attacks in the country, have so far not assumed jurisdiction in the case.

Acid-related attacks that could be considered acts of terrorism have been spreading across Europe, with substances including drain cleaner being used as weapons. This became an alternative to guns and knives, which have been cracked down on by authorities in recent years. Earlier this year, an acid attack in East London left two people with eye injuries from what the police called was a “corrosive fluid.” In Manchester, Northern England, a pregnant woman and a man suffered discomfort after being attacked with bleach by a suspect from a passing car.

The vast majority of these attacks happened in London, with at least 208 reported since 2016. Out of these, at least 38 attacks caused serious injuries, while one was fatal. Other acid attack incidents were also reported in Berlin and Italy. Simon Harding, a criminologist and expert on gangs, said that acid is becoming a “weapon of first choice” because it shows dominance, power, and control.