The French authorities are investigating, under the hypothesis of terrorism, a knife attack that occurred on Friday (23) against an administrative officer of a police station in Rambouillet, about 60 km from Paris. The 49-year-old came to the rescue of medical professionals, but couldn’t resist the injuries.
According to initial reports, the victim returned to work after lunch when she was stabbed twice in the throat by a 36-year-old man identified only by his Tunisian nationality.
The suspect was shot dead by the police. Officials told Reuters news agency the man arrived in France illegally in 2009, but was granted permission to stay in the country. He had no criminal record and the motivation for the attack is still unknown.
According to the AFP news agency, three men were also arrested. A forensic source said they acted in conjunction with the suspect.
After evaluating the case, the national anti-terrorism prosecution took charge of the investigations. In a Twitter post, President Emmanuel Macron referred to the victim by his first name, Stéphanie, and said that France “is on the side of his family, his colleagues and the police”.
“In the fight against Islamic terrorism, we will not give up,” the French leader said, although the police have not officially confirmed evidence of religious motivation.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex visited Rambouillet. Journalists also called the crime a “new terrorist attack” and said the country’s resolve to “fight terrorism in all its forms remains intact”. “The Republic [francesa] has just lost one of his everyday heroines, in a barbaric gesture of infinite cowardice, ”he wrote earlier in a post on Twitter.
“To your loved ones, I want to express the support of the whole nation. To our security forces, I want to say that I share their emotion and their outrage.” We are a family business.
According to Le Monde newspaper, witnesses to the attack said the criminal was seen walking past the police station several times with a phone in his hand. At one point, he took advantage of the victim’s entry through a protected door and managed to lock the electronic control mechanism.
Then, according to reports, the man showed a knife to the gas station workers, who were on the other side of the protected glass, before stabbing the administrative officer. After unlocking the door, one of the police officers shot the man, who died of his injuries.
Other witnesses said they heard the man shout “Allahu Akbar” (Allah is great). Although not officially confirmed, the information was considered in the decision-making process for the crime to be investigated as a terrorist attack.
Jean-François Ricard, head of the national anti-terrorism prosecution, said he had resumed investigations “for the very course of the facts – which includes elements of identification, the mode of the crime, the person who was victim but also comments made by the ‘author at the time the facts occurred “.
Similar circumstances – knife attacks with the police as the target – have already been identified in the modus operandi of other crimes committed in France and associated with religiously motivated terrorism.
In addition, even the day chosen for the attack is under consideration, since Friday is considered the most important day of the week for Muslims. Rambouillet, a town of just over 26,000 inhabitants, is located in the Yvelines department, the same where Samuel Paty, an elementary school history and geography teacher, was beheaded by a young refugee of Chechen origin after showing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad to students during a free speech class.
The case led to the opening of investigations against dozens of activists of Muslim origin and rekindled debates on Islamophobia in France, even generating diplomatic crises for the Macron government.
In addition, the most recent attacks were instrumental in the passage of a law by the French National Assembly in February which, in practice, contains the advance of Islam in the country – for the government. , a question of national unity. The legislation does not highlight any specific religion, but provides for stricter measures against topics ranging from forced marriages and virginity testing to promoting violent acts on the internet and educating children outside of mainstream schools – some Muslim families enroll their children in Islamic institutions considered clandestine.
The law also establishes tighter control over religious associations and their finances, which critics of the bill say limits freedom of worship in France. “It is an extremely strong secular offensive. It is a hard text, but it is necessary for the Republic”, declared the Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin at the time.
Other similar attacks in France
29.out.20: A Tunisian wielding a knife beheaded a woman and killed two others in a church in the city of Nice before being shot and taken away by the police.
16.out.20: Professor Samuel Paty was beheaded in the street of a Parisian suburb. Paty showed his students cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in a free speech class, angering some Muslim parents. For Islam, any representation of the Prophet is considered blasphemy. Police shot and killed the 18-year-old Chechen attacker.
25.set.20: Two people were stabbed in Paris near the former offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, where Islamic activists carried out an attack in 2015. A Pakistani man was arrested for the crime.
3.out.19: Mickael Harpon, 45, a computer scientist authorized to work at the Paris police headquarters, killed three police officers and a civilian employee before being shot by police officers. He had converted to Islam ten years earlier.
March 23, 18: A sniper killed three people in Trèbes, southern France, after stealing a car, shooting at police and taking hostages in a supermarket. Security forces broke into the building and killed him.
26 Jul 16: Two assailants killed a priest and seriously injured another hostage in a church in northern France before being shot dead by police. Francois Hollande, President of France at the time, said the hijackers pledged allegiance to the Islamic State terrorist group.
14.Jul.16: An armed man drove a truck against a crowd celebrating July 14 in Nice, killing 86 people and injuring several others in an attack claimed by ISIS. The striker has been identified as a Frenchman born in Tunisia.
June 14, 16: A Frenchman of Moroccan origin stabbed the police commander at his home in the Paris suburbs as well as his partner, who also worked for the police. The assailant told police he was responding to a call from ISIS.
November 13, 15: Paris was hit by several gun and bomb attacks on entertainment venues around the city, in which 130 people were killed and 368 injured. ISIS said it was responsible. Two of the ten terrorists identified were Belgian citizens and three other French.
January 7 and 9. January 15: Two armed Islamic militants broke into the Charlie Hebdo offices on January 7 and killed 12 people. Another terrorist killed a policeman the next day and took hostages in a supermarket on January 9, killing four other people before being killed by policemen.