Paris:French police are hunting for a man after finding a woman dead in a retirement home in southern France where some 60 Roman Catholic missionaries live, but they have ruled out any link to Islamist terrorism, a prosecutor said on Friday.
"At this stage we can't say exactly what the perpetrator's motive was, but what we can say is that there is no link, none at all, with Islamist terrorism," Montpellier prosecutor Christophe Barret told reporters.
Security forces were called to the home in Montferrier-sur-Lez, about 10 km (6 miles) north of Montpellier, late on Thursday, after a woman who had been bound and gagged freed herself and escaped from the home.
On entering the building, police found the body of a 54-year-old linen maid who had been stabbed several times, Barret said.
He said investigators had found a car near the scene of the crime that contained a replica firearm and other materials that enabled them to identify a suspect.
"The investigation is focusing on a local track, meaning somebody within the entourage of the retirement home," he said.
The home houses retired missionaries who had worked in Africa as well as a few nuns.
France has been under a state of emergency since a wave of Islamist attacks last year.
Suspects arrested last weekend under anti-terrorism measures had been planning to launch attacks on Dec. 1 at landmark sites in and around Paris, a source said on Thursday.