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Saturday 17 March 2018

Killer tracked French police officials days before murders

President Francois Hollande attended the ceremony (AP)
President Francois Hollande attended the ceremony (AP)

The killer who knifed to death two police officials in their home tracked the couple days before the murders and uploaded his claim of responsibility on the family computer, a judicial official in France has said.

As the investigation into the deaths on Monday continued, France paid tribute to the couple, Commander Jean-Baptiste Salvaing, an officer in Mureaux, a town west of Paris, and Jessica Schneider, a police administrator in nearby Mantes-la-Jolie.

Hundreds of officers attended a sombre ceremony at the prefecture of Versailles, the region where the two had lived and worked.

President Francois Hollande praised the couple at the ceremony as "two heroes of daily life".

Larossi Abballa, 25, convicted in 2013 of a role in a jihadi network along the Pakistan-Afghan border, was killed by a police intervention unit which had surrounded the home and tried in vain to negotiate.

The couple's three-year-old son was found alive inside.

Signals from Abballa's recently-purchased phone were captured in the town where the couple lived, Magnanville, and around the Mureaux police station on three consecutive days before the killings - on June 8, 9 and 10, the judicial official said.

"One can imagine that (he) was tracking" Salvaing, said the official.

The investigation also disclosed that Abballa uploaded his video claiming responsibility and pledge of allegiance to Islamic State, on Facebook Live, using the family computer.

It also appears he took photos of Salvaing from the family computer, the official said.

France has been on tenterhooks about potential attacks by Islamic State after two waves of attacks last year, including the November massacre in Paris that killed 130.

"France will continue its implacable fight against terrorism with even more determination in memory of their sacrifice," Hollande told police mourning their colleagues, calling police "sentinels of the Republic".

Press Association

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