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Inner courtyard of the Paris police headquarters. Photo: Tiraden, CC-BY-SA-4.0 Wikimedia Commons

Paris knife attacker converted to Islam ’18 months ago’

According to French media at least four policemen were killed on Thursday, October 3, in a knife attack inside the walls of the police headquarters of Paris. The attacker, a black convert to Islam, was eventually shot.

Published: October 4, 2019, 10:07 am

    Paris

    The new attack has sent tremors through France. Around 1:30 pm, several police officers were attacked with a knife in the very heart of the Paris police headquarters on the Ile de la Cité, reported French daily Le Parisien. According to the newspaper, at least four policemen have died. The individual was shot.

    The hypothesis of a terrorist act remains a realistic one, even if the notion of a “private dispute” has been evoked. The attacker converted to Islam eighteen months ago, and had been summoned by his superior for an interview about why he no longer greeted women, French daily le Figaro reported.

    His wife, who was taken into custody in the late afternoon, is Muslim. According to information , the attacker was equipped with a ceramic knife, undetectable by security gates, Le Point noted.

    Interviewed by the investigators, the black assaillant’s wife described “a dementia crisis” the night before the attack. Aged 45, Mickaël H was originally from Martinique, according to information from a police source.

    Born in Fort-de-France, the capital of the Caribbean island, he had lived for several years in Gonesse (Val-d’Oise) where a search of more than six hours was carried out in the afternoon following the events.

    He was shot in the courtyard of the Paris police headquarters, where he had been employed for 20 years.

    Interviewed by the investigators, his wife gave some information that could advance the investigation, according to BFMTV . She claimed that her husband not only had a “dementia attack” the night before, but also that he had “heard voices” and was “incoherent” when he woke up abruptly.

    The individual was an “administrative agent” officiating at the “computer department of the Intelligence Directorate (DRPP) of the Paris police headquarters and suffering from a [slight hearing] disability”. He worked in the mailing section and therefore had access to sensitive documents.

    He was an official who was “not known for any trouble, he was a priori a model colleague” said Loïc Travers, secretary of Île-de-France’s Alliance National Police Union in an interview with BFMTV.

    The official allegedly began his attack near his office, before moving successively in a corridor, a staircase and then in the courtyard of the prefecture to attack colleagues, resulting in the death of four of them. A colleague finally shot him with his gun. The criminal brigade is leading the investigation.

    The perimeter around the police headquarters, close to the Notre-Dame cathedral, was cordoned off and help arrived soon after. The metro station Cité, on line 4, was closed as a precaution yesterday. Interior Minister Christophe Castaner and Prime Minister Edouard Phillipe hurried to the site. Emmanuel Macron canceled his “big debate” on pension reform planned in Rhodez.

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