Sunday 22 July 2018

Paris knife attack suspect was on potential radicalism watch list

Police are questioning the suspect’s parents in Paris.

A bullet hole near where a knife attacker was shot dead in central Paris (Thibault Camus/AP)
A bullet hole near where a knife attacker was shot dead in central Paris (Thibault Camus/AP)

By Elaine Ganley and Angela Charlton, Associated Press

The young man who stabbed one person to death and injured four others in Paris was on a watch list for potential radicalism.

However, the alleged attacker, a 20-year-old French citizen born in the Russian republic of Chechnya, did not have an arrest record, according to a French judicial official.

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One person was killed in a knife attack in central Paris (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

He said the parents of the suspect, who was shot dead by police, were still being questioned, along with a friend, after being detained at their residence in Paris’ northern 18th district.

A 29-year-old man was killed in the attack near the Paris Garnier Opera house and four people were wounded, including a man from Luxembourg.

Luxembourg’s foreign ministry said its injured citizen was given emergency treatment and is no longer in danger.

Interior minister Gerard Collomb said one of the injured underwent emergency surgery, and two friends were treated in hospital for less serious injuries, but all are out of life-threatening danger.

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Forensic officers investigate at the scene (Thibault Camus/AP)

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility.

Chechen president Ramzan Kadyrov, who identified the suspect as Khasan Azimov, said France bore responsibility for the attack.

He said he was informed the dead man had received French citizenship and held a Russian passport until he was 14.

Russian news agencies quoted the Chechen leader saying: “I consider it necessary to state that all responsibility for the fact that Khasan Azimov went on the road of crime lies completely with the authorities of France.

“He was only born in Chechnya, and his growing up, the formation of his personality, his views and persuasions occurred in French society.”

The suspect, who lived in Strasbourg, had a clean criminal record and did not know his victims, said an interior ministry spokesman.

A witness working nearby called Jonathan said: “I was working in the restaurant and suddenly I heard a woman screaming… he came and attacked her.”

“That’s when the panic started, everyone started screaming and trying to reach our restaurant… The attacker just kept walking around with his knife in his blooded hands.”

“Police were quickly on the scene, in less than five minutes. They encircled him and he tried to attack them with a knife but they shot him down,” he told reporters.

The Islamic State group’s Aamaq news agency said the assailant carried out the attack in response to the group’s calls for supporters to target members of the US-led military coalition squeezing the extremists out of Iraq and Syria. Aamaq did not provide evidence for its claim.

France’s military has been active in the coalition since 2014, and IS adherents have killed more than 200 people in France in recent years. in recent years.

Press Association

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