ISIS calls suspect in lethal Paris knife attack a ‘soldier’: report
A suspect killed by French authorities after knifing five people and ultimately killing one in central Paris has been claimed as a “soldier” of ISIS, the extremist group’s news agency said.
The Islamic State (ISIS) claimed responsibility for Saturday night’s knife attack, saying it was in response to ISIS’ calls for supporters to target members of the U.S.-led military coalition squeezing the extremists out of Iraq and Syria, the Aamaq news agency said in a statement.
An unidentified suspect carried out a stabbing attack Saturday evening in the 2nd Arrondissement of Paris, north of the Seine River, which ultimately led to two casualties, including the attacker. Two other people were seriously injured and two more were slightly injured.
Counterterrorism authorities were called in to lead the investigation after Prosecutor Francois Molins told reporters that witnesses heard the suspect shouting, “Allahu Akbar” — “God is great” in Arabic.
Paris police said the attacker was subdued by officers and later confirmed that the “assailant passed away.”
Witnesses reportedly said that the police first tried to use a stun gun on the attacker, but when that failed, they fired two shots, the BBC reported, citing France24.
Police did not confirm local media reports that the suspect had been fatally shot.
The attack took place in a popular neighborhood near Paris’ famed Opera Garnier. People were asked to evacuate nearby buildings.
Police said that the suspect targeted the five people.
In a tweet sharing his condolences, French President Emmanuel Macron labeled the attacker a “terrorist.”
“All my thoughts go to the victims and the wounded of the knife attack perpetrated tonight in Paris, as well as to their relatives. I salute on behalf of all the French the courage of the policemen who have neutralized the terrorist,” his tweet was translated to.
“France once again paid the price of blood but did not give an inch to the enemies of Freedom,” Macron said in another, defiant tweet.
France’s BFM television interviewed an unnamed witness in a restaurant who said a young woman was at the entrance when “a man arrived and attacked her with a knife.” A friend came to her aid and the attacker left, “hitting on all the doors, all the shops,” the witness told BFM. He turned onto another street, and everyone scattered, the witness said.
Interior Minister Gerard Collomb denounced the attack in a tweet, which translated as, “My first thoughts are with the victims of this odious act.”
Paris has been under elevated security in recent years after a string of deadly Islamic extremist attacks.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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