Paris knife attack: France's anti-terrorism prosecutor has opened an investigation into the fatal stabbing of a 23-year-old German-Filipino tourist near the Eiffel Tower in Paris, allegedly by a man who had been under surveillance for suspected Islamic radicalisation. Jean-Francois Ricard said in a news conference that suspects Armand Rajabpour-Miyandoab could face a preliminary charge of murder in connection with a terrorist enterprise. He said Rajabpour-Miyandoab is a French national who is being held in police custody.
Rajabpour-Miyandoab recorded a video before the attack in which he swore allegiance to the Islamic State group and expressed support for Islamic extremists operating in various areas, including in Africa, Iraq, Syria, Egypt's Sinai, Yemen, Iran and Pakistan, Ricard said.
The video, in Arabic, was published on Rajabpour-Miyandoa's account on X, formerly Twitter, where his recent posts included references to the Israel-Hamas war, the prosecutor said. It wasn't immediately clear if Rajabpour-Miyandoab had legal representation. A message left on Sunday with the prosecutor's office seeking to locate him for comment was not immediately returned.
Who is Rajabpour-Miyandoab?
Ricard said Rajabpour-Miyandoab was born in 1997 in Neuilly-Sur-Seine, outside Paris, in a family with no religious affiliation. He converted to Islam at the age of 18 and quickly adhered to Islamic extremist ideology, he said.
In 2016, he had planned to join the Islamic State group in Syria. The same year, he was convicted and imprisoned for four years, until 2020, on a charge of planning violence. He was under psychiatric treatment and was on a special list for feared radicals, the prosecutor confirmed.
Since the end earlier this year of a probation period during which he received mandatory psychiatric care, Rajabpour-Miyandoab was placed under the surveillance of intelligence services, Ricard said.
His mother had in October expressed “concerns” over her son isolating himself, but no evidence was found that could have led to criminal proceedings, he added. Three other people from Rajabpour-Miyandoab's entourage and family have been detained by police for questioning, Ricard said.
Knife attack near Eiffel Tower
The apparently random attack near the Eiffel Tower on Saturday night has drawn special concern for the French capital less than a year before it hosts the Olympic Games, with the opening ceremony due to take place along the river in an unprecedented scenic start in the heart of Paris.
In a sign of that concern, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne called a meeting for Sunday evening with key ministers and officials charged with security for a “total review” of measures in place and the handling of the “most dangerous individuals,” her office said.
Two others injured in Paris attack
After killing the tourist, the attacker crossed the bridge to the city's Right Bank and injured two people, a British and a French national, with a hammer, authorities said.
Ricard said both of them were able to get back home on Sunday. Video circulating on the internet showed police officers, weapons drawn, cornering a man dressed in black, his face covered and what appeared to be a knife in his right hand.
The suspect cried “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) and a police officer twice tasered the suspect before arresting him, authorities said.
Questioned by police, the suspect expressed anguish about Muslims dying, notably in Afghanistan and the Palestinian territories, and claimed that France was an accomplice, Darmanin said.
German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock said on X that the news from Paris was “shocking.” “My thoughts are with the friends and family of the young German man,” she wrote. “Almost his entire life was before him....Hate and terror have no place in Europe.”
(With inputs from agency)