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France: German tourist killed, 2 injured in 'terror' attack in central Paris, attacker arrested

The attacker was a 25-year-old French citizen who had spent four years in prison for a violent offence. He reportedly expressed anguish about Muslims dying in Palestinian territories and claimed that France was an accomplice, raising fears amid a terror alert.

Aveek Banerjee Edited By: Aveek Banerjee @AveekABanerjee Paris Published on: December 03, 2023 6:40 IST
French police
Image Source : AP/REPRESENTATIVE French police

In another 'terror' attack in France, a man stabbed a German tourist to death and injured two others in a street in central Paris near the Eiffel Tower on Saturday, according to French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin. The man was arrested by police shortly afterwards.

According to Darmanin, the attacker was a 25-year-old French citizen who had spent four years in prison for a violent offence and had a history of mental illness. After he was arrested, the man expressed anguish about Muslims dying in Palestinian territories and claimed that France was an accomplice. The man apparently raised slogans of 'Allahu Akbar'.

The man, whose identity is yet to be disclosed, attacked a German couple with a knife on Saturday night, killing the man. He also used a hammer to injure two other people. He was imprisoned in 2020 and was under surveillance and undergoing psychiatric treatment, said the French Interior Minister.

The attacker was stopped by police who twice fired a taser at him in the stomach. Darmanin praised the officers for their quick thinking and said that "there would doubtless have been other dead". 

"The police have just courageously arrested an assailant attacking passers-by in Paris, around the Quai de Grenelle. One deceased person and one injured person were treated by the Paris Fire Brigade. Please avoid the area," said Darmanin on X.

French President Emmanuel Macron expressed his condolences to the loved ones of the German tourist killed in the attack as well as the injured persons. "My most sincere thanks to the emergency forces who made it possible to quickly arrest a suspect. The national anti-terrorism prosecutor's office will be responsible for shedding light on this matter so that justice can be done for the French people," he said on X.

France under terror alert

France has been under a terror alert since a stabbing incident in a high school in October, allegedly by a man who pledged allegiance to the Islamic State  (ISIS), that claimed the life of a teacher. Additionally, rising sentiments of anti-semitism and Islamophobia in the wake of the Israel-Hamas war also sparked concern among authorities.

After the stabbing attack, Macron deployed 7,000 soldiers to increase security across the country. French intelligence agencies suggested that there was a link between the Israel-Hamas war and the stabbing incident. France has the world's third-largest Jewish population after Israel and the United States, and the largest Muslim population in Western Europe.

Afterwards, several airports across France were evacuated on Wednesday following emailed threats of attack. French authorities had been receiving similar bomb threats following Hamas's attack on Israel. On October 31, French police in Paris opened fire on a woman threatening to blow herself up after allegedly making death threats and pro-terrorism statements on a train heading towards the capital.

Officers responded after the train passengers reported that a woman was making "remarks of a rather Islamist nature" that worried others. Paris police chief Laurent Nunez said that the woman used phrases like "You're all going to get it," "Allahu Akbar" and "Boom" while riding the RER C suburban train into Paris. In response, two police officers fired eight shots at the woman that seriously wounded her. 

(with inputs from AP)

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