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Paris knife attacker was known to counter-terrorism police
A knife-wielding attacker (aka jihad terrorist) who killed a passerby and injured four others in Paris on Saturday evening had been flagged as a security risk and interviewed by counter-terrorist police.
French police took the man’s parents into custody on Sunday for questioning about his links to jihadists in Syria.
The attacker, named as Khamzat Azimov, aged 20, was born in Chechnya but reportedly obtained French nationality in 2010.
Police were quickly on the scene as the knifeman walked from restaurant to restaurant on rue Monsigny, a one-way street, apparently looking for victims. Panicked diners fled terraces or took refuge under tables inside.
Officers, praised for their sang-froid, reportedly tried to halt him with a stun-gun, but when he continued to threaten them shot him dead. Witnesses said Azimov shouted: “Go ahead. Shoot. I’m going to get you.”
Several witnesses claimed the attacker cried “Allahu Akbar” as he lunged at people. This was confirmed by the public prosecutor, François Molins. Isis has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Azimov, who was not carrying identity papers, had been interviewed by counter-terrorism officers “several months ago” after it was discovered he was friends with a man whose wife had travelled to Syria and was on the Fiche-S list of people considered a potential security risk. He had no criminal record.
Another woman who was out with her young son and saw the knifeman said he seemed determined to attack police officers who had tried to surround and immobilise him. “Police surrounded him and I really thought that would stop him, but not at all. He literally jumped at the police. He was so determined . . .He was small slim, longish hair, like all the fashionable young, a three-day beard. He did not stand out. He was dressed normally. Never in my life would I have thought he was going to attack.”
France’s anti-terrorist brigade was investigating the attack and the prosecutor has opened an inquiry into “murder linked to a terrorist organisation”.