‘Knife-wielding man’ shot dead at Paris police station
Prosecutor says man carrying sheet with Isis flag and claim of responsibility
A knife-wielding man who was shot dead after attempting to enter a police station in Paris was carrying a sheet of paper with an Islamic State flag as well as a claim of responsibility, the city’s prosecutor has said.
Officials said the man was wearing a fake suicide vest and had wires protruding from his body. Asked if the belt was fake, an interior ministry spokesman said: “Yes.”
The incident took place just minutes after French president Francois Hollande had given a speech to security forces in an another part of Paris to mark the first anniversary of last year’s deadly Islamist militant attacks on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in the French capital.
France has been under a state of emergency since a series of attacks claimed by the Islamic State group killed 130 people in Paris on November 13th.
Officials said the man threatened officers at the entrance of a police station. Pierre-Henry Brandet, the interior ministry spokesman, said the man at the police station is believed to have cried out “Allahu akbar”, Arabic for “God is great”.
He has not been identified, and Mr Brandet said that police do not believe anyone else was involved.
1 Police station in northern 18th arrondissement where man was shot
2 Charlie Hebdo offices, where 12 people were killed in January, 2015
3 Bataclan theatre, where 89 people were killed in the Paris terror attacks in November 2015
Alexis Mukenge, who saw the shooting from inside another building, told the network iTele that police told the man, “Stop. Move back”, adding that officers fired twice and the man immediately dropped to the ground.
The Goutte d’Or neighbourhood in Paris’ 18th arrondissement was locked down, as were two metro lines running through the area, although they later reopened.
Police expanded their security cordon about an hour after the attack, swiftly and roughly clearing out hundreds who had gathered at a subway station and along nearby streets.
Mr Hollande had said earlier that what he called a “terrorist threat” would continue to weigh on France. The government has announced new measures extending police powers to allow officers to use their weapons to “neutralize someone who has just committed one or several murders and is likely to repeat these crimes.”
On January 7th 2015, two French-born brothers killed 11 people at the building where Charlie Hebdo operated, as well as a Muslim policeman outside.
Over the next two days, an accomplice shot a policewoman to death and then stormed a kosher supermarket, killing four hostages. A total of 17 people died, as did all three gunmen.
Mr Hollande especially called for better surveillance of “radicalised” citizens who have joined Islamic State or other militant groups in Syria and Iraq when they return to France.
“We must be able to force these people — and only these people — to fulfil certain obligations and if necessary to put them under house arrest... because they are dangerous,” he said. Hollande said officers die in the line of duty “so that we can live free”.