French officials open terrorist investigation after policeman stabbed to death, assailant shot dead


French prosecutors have opened a terrorist investigation in connection with Friday’s attack on a policeman who was killed at a police station outside Paris.

Police shot and killed the attacker at the scene, authorities said.

Anti-terrorism prosecutor Jean-François Ricard will lead the investigation. When speaking to the media after the attack, Ricard did not provide any details regarding the identity or motive of the suspect.

The head of the Ile de France regional council Valérie Pécresse, on the left, arrives at the Rambouillet police station, southwest of Paris, on Friday, April 23, 2021 (Credit: AP Photo / Michel Euler)

The head of the Ile de France regional council Valérie Pécresse, on the left, arrives at the Rambouillet police station, southwest of Paris, on Friday, April 23, 2021 (Credit: AP Photo / Michel Euler)

A French justice official revealed that the 37-year-old suspect was born in Tunisia.

Ricard, however, said several factors led his office to resume the investigation, such as statements made by the suspect during the attack and the fact that he staked out the police station and targeted a policeman. .

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The attack occurred southwest of Paris, in the town of Rambouillet.

According to witnesses, the suspect said “Allahu akbar” during the attack, which means “God is great”.

Police officers block access with barriers next to the Rambouillet police station, southwest of Paris, on Friday, April 23, 2021 (AP Photo / Michel Euler)

Police officers block access with barriers next to the Rambouillet police station, southwest of Paris, on Friday, April 23, 2021 (AP Photo / Michel Euler)

The victim was a 49-year-old administrative employee.

“The police are a symbol of the republic. They are France,” Valérie Pécresse, president of the Paris region, told reporters at the scene.

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French Prime Minister Jean Castex pledged “the government’s determination to fight terrorism in all its forms”.

President Emmanuel Macron has already stepped up security across the country after a number of religiously motivated attacks.

Police officers block access with barriers next to the Rambouillet police station, southwest of Paris, on Friday, April 23, 2021 (AP Photo / Michel Euler)

Police officers block access with barriers next to the Rambouillet police station, southwest of Paris, on Friday, April 23, 2021 (AP Photo / Michel Euler)

An attack in Nice in October 2020 saw three worshipers beheaded with a knife, after which Macron said “France is under attack”. He described the incident as an “Islamist terrorist attack”.

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“If we are attacked again, it is for the values ​​that are ours: freedom, for this possibility on our soil to believe freely and not to give in to any spirit of terror,” Macron said at the time. “I say it again today with great clarity: we will not give up.”

A few weeks earlier, Samuel Paty, a college professor, had been beheaded by a man of Chechen origin near Paris. The 18-year-old suspect, who was killed by police after the incident, said he wanted to punish Paty for showing students cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a civic education lesson on free speech , Reuters reported.

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The cartoons were originally published by Charlie Hebdo and were quoted by men who attacked the newspaper in 2015.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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