In Marseilles a man with a knife attacked passers-by, has died

At that moment, he was shot by the soldiers, said Collomb, who said officials would confirm whether the attack was terrorism following the investigation.

French police are describing the incident as a "likely terrorist act".

Two victims were stabbed to death in the attack, which happened at about 1.45 p.m. (1145 UTC), local news outlets said.

While terror group Isis have claimed responsibility for the double stabbing French authorities say there is no confirmation the killer had any link to the Middle East group and the French interior ministry said they could not yet confirm the attack was motivated by terrorism.

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Some witnesses reported hearing the assailant shout "Allahu akbar", Arabic for "God is great", Collomb said. According to two police sources, one had her throat slit while the other was stabbed in the stomach.

ISIS has claimed the knife attack that killed two women at the main train station in Marseille on Sunday.

The attacker is thought to be approximately 30 years old and of North African appearance.

France's national train operator SNCF has asked people to postpone planned journeys via the station.

The Paris prosecutor's office, which oversees all terror cases in France, said it had opened a counterterrorism investigation of the Marseille attack.

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The station was evacuated, reports The Associated Press, train service suspended and police warned people to stay away.

President Emmanuel Macron said on Twitter he was: "Disgusted by this barbaric act", and praised security forces.

The Marseille attack came only days after IS released a recording of what it said was its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi urging his followers to strike their enemies in the West. Some 7,000 troops have been deployed in cities and towns as part of the Opération Sentinelle to guard high-risk areas such as transport hubs, tourist sites and religious buildings.

Reuters quoted one source as saying that the attacker was known to police for common law crimes, while another said digital analysis of fingerprints had come up with several aliases.

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