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Huge law enforcement deployment in Paris on Friday, Screenshot from YouTube
Paris

Terror attack near former Charlie Hebdo offices: Two critically injured

Two migrants injured two people with a butcher's cleaver on Friday morning in Paris. The two attackers were eventually arrested. The national anti-terrorist prosecution will be taking up the case.

Published: September 25, 2020, 5:04 pm

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    The stabbing attack took place in front of the former premises of Charlie Hebdo. Terrorism could not be ruled out as the motive for the attack.

    At the end of the morning, two men attacked two people with a cleaving knife in the 11th arrondissement (rue Nicolas Appert). Both are in a critical condition according to the Paris police headquarters. They are said to be two employees of the Première Lines production company. They work on the 2nd floor of the building occupied previously by Charlie Hebdo and work, among other things, for the programme Cash investigation on France 2. The wounded were transferred to the Salpêtrière hospital.

    The two attackers have since been arrested and taken into custody. The first, an 18-year-old “Pakistani” or “North African” type, was arrested on the steps of the Bastille Opera by the Brigade de recherche et d’intervention (BRI) of the 11th arrondissement. BRIs specialise in serious criminal cases such as armed robbery and kidnappings. They typically attempt to catch offenders in the act after monitoring their activities.

    The perpetrator was dressed in a black sleeveless puffer jacket, black jogging pants and red shoes. He is being described by the national counterterrorism prosecutor, Jean-François Ricard, as “the principal author”.

    According to Le Point, his name is “Ali H and he was born on August 10, 2002 in Pakistan”. He was arrested because he had traces of blood on his face. According to BFM he was already known to the police, including for carrying an illegal weapon but was not known for radicalization. His interrogation has not yet started, sources close to the police said.

    The second suspect was later arrested by the railway network brigade near the Richard-Lenoir metro station. His role in the attack is not yet outlined, but he was also taken into custody. Like the first suspect, he had blood stains on his clothes. He is older (33 years) than the first migrant arrested and his links with him are not yet known.

    According to Actu.fr, the first suspect which was arrested has already admitted the facts.

    Firefighters were also on site. The stabbings took place near the former premises of the satirical newspaper, as the trial of the January 2015 terror attack continues. The BRI closed off a perimeter around the former premises of Charlie Hebdo. Nurseries, schools and senior residences have also been closed. At the same time, a crisis unit was opened at Place Beauvau. Traveling in Seine-Saint-Denis, the Prime Minister returned urgently, as did the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin. They are currently both on site, accompanied by the mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo.

    At the scene of the attack, French PM Jean Castex reaffirmed his “resolute will by all means to fight against terrorism”.

    As a reminder, the terrorist group Al-Qaeda recently launched new calls to attack Charlie Hebdo after the new publications of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. According to Le Parisien, a suspicious package was sent to the newspaper’s new premises, but ultimately it presented no risk.

    The Paris public prosecutor’s office has meanwhile opened an investigation for “attempted murder” and the national anti-terrorist public prosecutor’s office opened an investigation for “attempted assassination in connection with a terrorist enterprise, criminal terrorist association”.

    According to Actu 17, the anti-terrorist section of the Paris criminal brigade and the French domestic spy agency, the DGSI are in charge of the investigation.

    The national anti-terrorism prosecutor explained why the terrorist motive was being given preference: “Given the location of the attack, in front of the building where the editorial staff of Charlie [Hebdo] had been, at the time of these facts, during the trial, and finally taking into account the materialization of the facts: there was a manifest will of the author to take the lives of two people, who were on cigarette break”.

    There has been an upsurge of threats against Charlie Hebdo. Marika Bret, an employee of the satirical newspaper said earlier this week that she had to be exfiltrated from her home. “My security officers have received specific and detailed threats. I had ten minutes to get ready and leave my home. Ten minutes to give up part of your life is a bit short, and it’s very extreme. I will not return home,” she told Le Point.

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