A man known to French authorities as an Islamic extremist and suffering from mental health problems was arrested late Saturday night after stabbing a tourist to death and injuring two others in central Paris, with prosecutors calling it a terrorist attack. An investigation has been launched on suspicion of “planning”.
The attack near the Eiffel Tower, which took place around 9pm (2000 JST) on a busy weekend, came as the country was on highest alert amid rising tensions due to the war between Israel and Hamas.
Prosecutors specializing in terrorism cases told AFP they have launched an investigation into Armand Rajabpour Miyandoab, a French national born in 1997 to Iranian parents who was arrested shortly after the knife and hammer attack. He said he did.
They are pursuing murder charges against the deceased 23-year-old man, who was identified by judicial sources as a German-Filipino.
He will also be investigated for the attempted murder of two people, a 66-year-old British national and a 60-year-old French national, who were injured “in connection with a terrorist plot”.
Rajabpur Miyandoab, known to authorities and undergoing treatment for mental illness, said that at the moment of the attack, he shouted “Allahu Akbar”, which means “God is great” in Arabic, at the Bir Hakeim Bridge. Interior Minister Gerard Darmanin said at the scene. Seine river.
The suspect, who lived with his parents in the Essonne region south of Paris, told police he could not tolerate the killing of Muslims in “Afghanistan and Palestine”, adding that France “would not tolerate what Israel is doing” in the Gaza Strip. accused of being an accomplice. Darmanin added.
Saturday’s attack drew a response from the highest levels of the French state.
“We will not give in to terrorism,” Prime Minister Elisabeth Born posted on X (formerly Twitter) after the attack.
President Emmanuel Macron said he would express his condolences to the family of the man killed in the “terrorist attack”.
“Unstable and susceptible”
Police and security officials confirmed that at the moment of the attack, the attacker posted a video on social media claiming to be responsible for “current events, the government, and the murder of innocent Muslims.”
A security source told AFP that investigators would closely examine his medical history and described the attacker as “very unstable and susceptible”.
“Was he being medically monitored as he should have been, as he has actually been for some time?” the police source said.
Darmanin said the man had already been sentenced to four years in prison in 2016 for planning but failing to carry out a new attack in Paris’ La Défense business district.
Darmanin added that a taxi driver who witnessed the scene intervened and the victim’s wife was saved. The attacker then crossed the bridge and assaulted others, injuring one person with a hammer.
Pursuing police used a Taser to incapacitate the man, who was later arrested.
Writing in X, President Macron thanked security forces for swiftly arresting the suspected attackers and said justice must be served “in the name of the French people.”
Supermarket manager Joseph S., 37, who asked that his last name not be used, was sitting at the bar when he witnessed the scene.
I heard screams and people running and shouting, “Help, help!” A man with a hammer attacked the fallen man and police arrived within five to 10 minutes, he told AFP.
The country has suffered multiple attacks by Islamic extremists, including a suicide and gun attack in Paris claimed by the Islamic State group in November 2015 that left 130 people dead.
There has been relative calm in recent years, although authorities have warned that the threat remains.
However, tensions are rising in France, which has a large Jewish and Muslim population, following Hamas’ attack on Israel on October 7 and Israeli bombing of the Gaza Strip.
Security in Paris is also under particular scrutiny in the run-up to the 2024 Summer Olympics.
In October, teacher Dominique Bernard was murdered in the northern French town of Arras by a young Islamic extremist from Russia’s Caucasus region.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)