Saturday 14 December, 2019

Paris police attack: No suggestion of terrorism

Investigators were searching Friday for possible motives for the knife attack at Paris police headquarters as the French government said there is nothing to suggest the police employee who stabbed four colleagues to death was radicalized.

The assailant, a 45-year-old technology administrator in the police intelligence unit of the Paris police was shot dead after Thursday’s attack.

Government spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye said Friday on France Info that Paris prosecutors have decided to open a murder investigation on facts “which are not falling under terrorism at this stage of the investigation.”

Investigators were scouring the attacker's computer and cellphone for any indications of a motive and were interviewing his wife and witnesses, a police official said.

The man, who converted to Islam 18 months ago, was not believed to be radicalized and had no history of psychiatric problems, according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity to discuss the ongoing investigation.

Interior minister Christophe Castaner said Thursday the man had never shown any behavioral problems.

News broadcaster France Info and BFM TV said the attacker’s wife told police that her husband, who was deaf, had visions and made incoherent statements during the night before the attack.

Noam Anouar, of the Vigi police union, said the assailant had security clearance to work in the Paris police intelligence unit.

Asked about the ceramic knife the assailant was able to bring in the building, Laetitia Vallar, spokeswoman at the Paris police, said on BFM TV that police officers and administrators could enter the building with their badges under an officer’s supervision. They were not submitted to bag searches and security screening like the public.

She added that psychological assistance was being offered to police officers and employees.

Thursday’s knife attack at Paris police headquarters left three officers and an administrator dead. Another person was seriously injured.

Paris police held a minute of silence in the headquarters’ main courtyard on Friday morning. 

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