Soldier in Paris (illustration)
Soldier in Paris (illustration)Reuters

A French soldier was been stabbed in the neck by a man who quickly fled the scene and is being sought by police, President Francois Hollande said.

The soldier was patrolling in uniform with two other men as part of France's Vigipirate anti-terrorist surveillance plan, in the La Defense neighborhood west of Paris, when he was approached from behind around 4:00 p.m. and stabbed in the neck with a knife or a box-cutter.

Hollande, who is in Addis Ababa, said: "We still don't know the exact circumstances of the attack or the identity of the attacker, but we are exploring all options."

Pierre-Andre Peyvel, police prefect for the Hauts-de-Seine area, said the soldier had lost a considerable amount of blood but would survive, and was being treated in a nearby military hospital.

"The wound appears to be quite serious, but it's not life-threatening," he told iTele news television.

Peyvel said the man was able to flee into a crowded shopping area in the business neighborhood before the two other soldiers, who were walking in front of him, could react.

French daily Le Parisien cited a police source as saying the suspected attacker was a bearded man of North African origin about 30 years old, and was wearing an Arab-style garment under his jacket.

France is on high alert for attacks following its military intervention in Mali in January, which prompted threats from Al Qaeda in Mali.

The attack came days after a British soldier was savagely murdered on a London street by two African Muslims.