Paris stabbing: Attacker who killed four people at police HQ had ‘likely’ Islamist links

Autopsies ‘attest to a scene of extreme violence’ in seven-minute rampage

Samuel Osborne
Sunday 06 October 2019 01:29
Comments
Helicopter arrives on scene in Paris after stabbing at police headquarters

The man who stabbed three officers and an administrative worker to death at a police headquarters in Paris on Thursday had “likely” links with Islamists, the city’s prosecutor has said.

The attacker, a civilian employee who has not been named, “had likely contacts with members of the Salafist movement”, Jean-Francois Ricard said.​ Salafism is an ultra-conservative reform movement within Islam.

Mr Ricard said autopsies performed on the victims “attest to a scene of extreme violence” in the attack near the Notre Dame cathedral that lasted at least seven minutes.

The knifeman, who was shot and killed by police in the attack, had converted to Islam about 10 years ago, exchanged 33 texts of a religious character with his wife ahead of the attack, the prosecutor said on Saturday.

Mr Ricard said he had been accused of domestic violence a decade ago. The wife of the killer is in custody until Monday.

A fifth person was seriously injured in the stabbing.

French prosecutors opened an investigation on Friday into Thursday’s attack and said it could be terror-related.

The 45-year-old attacker worked as a technology administrator in the Paris police intelligence unit.

David Le Bars, head of the Union of National Police Commissioners, told French broadcaster BFM TV the decision to open a terror investigation came from easily accessible sources found in a search of the attacker’s home.

“We knew that searching through his computer histories, the websites visited, his relations, we would quickly have some information,” Mr Le Bars said.

The rookie officer who shot the stabber had completed police academy training just six days before the attack, Paris police chief Didier Lallement said at a news conference on Friday.

Assigned to security duty at the large police compound across the street from Notre Dame Cathedral, the trainee ran into the courtyard to counter the attack and confronted the 45-year-old administrator, Mr Lallement said.

Support free-thinking journalism and attend Independent events

The French capital has been rocked by several major attacks in the last four years.

Coordinated bombings and shootings by Isis militants in November 2015 at the Bataclan theatre and other locations around Paris killed 130 people in the deadliest attacks in France since the Second World War.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

By clicking ‘Create my account’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Join our new commenting forum

Join thought-provoking conversations, follow other Independent readers and see their replies

Comments

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged inPlease refresh your browser to be logged in