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Students in France acid attack show compassion for assailant

  • ASSOCIATED PRESS

    This image taken from video shows passengers inside Marseille-Saint-Charles railway station in Marseille, France on Sunday. Four young U.S. tourists were attacked with acid Sunday at a train station in the French city of Marseille.

BOSTON >> American college students attacked with acid at a train station in France have offered compassion and prayers for their assailant, who authorities say suffers from a mental illness.

French authorities have said they don’t believe extremist views motivated the 41-year-old woman arrested in the attack on the four Boston College students, who are studying abroad.

One of the students, Courtney Siverling, said in a post on Facebook that she was not injured and that all the women are “safe.”

“I pray that the attacker would be healed from her mental illness in the name of Jesus and receive the forgiveness and salvation that can only come from Him,” said Siverling, of Chester Springs, Pennsylvania.

The four women intend to remain in Europe to continue their studies, the spokesman for Boston College told The Associated Press.

The four were attacked Sunday morning at the Saint Charles train station in the southern French city of Marseille. Police in France described the suspect as “disturbed” and said the attack was not thought to be terror-related, according to a statement from Boston College, a private Jesuit school.

College spokesman Jack Dunn said the women were released from the hospital and expected to return to Paris today.

Michelle Krug said she was one of two who got hit in the eye with “a weak solution of hydrochloric acid.” She asked friends to “please consider thinking about/praying for our attacker” so she can receive help.

“Mental illness is not a choice and should not be villainized,” Krug, of White Plains, New York, wrote, adding she planned to continue her “incredible opportunity” to study in France.

Kelsey Kosten said on Facebook that all the women are doing much better and that she is looking forward to returning to Copenhagen to continue her studies abroad. Her father, Phillip Kosten, told The Boston Globe at his Winchester, Massachusetts, home that his daughter is “fine” and asked for privacy for his family.

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