PARIS – Police on Sunday scoured the background of a Chechnya-born Frenchman who killed a man in a knife attack in Paris, questioning the parents and a friend of the 21-year old, who had been flagged previously as a potential security risk.
The attack late on Saturday, the assailant shouted “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest) as he began his stabbing rampage. He fatally stabbed a 29-year-old man to death, wounded four others, among them a Chinese and a Luxembourg citizen, before police shot him dead.
Reuters reported that a judicial source named the attacker as Khamzat A, without giving his full name, with BFM TV and other French media said the last name was Azimov.
The attack did take place in the well known Opera district, known for its many restaurants, cafes and the Palais Garnier opera.
This attack was latest in many attacks in France since January 2015 in which more than 240 people have died.
The attacker was known by authorities since 2016, was on the watchlist for counter-terrorism. The list consists of suspected radicals who may be a threat to national security said government spokesman Benjamin Griveaux.
The stabbing has once again exposed the difficulty for European intelligence services face, to keep track of suspected extremists and countering the growing threat posed by homegrown militants and foreign jihadists.
France has been a target because of their participation in a US-led coalition battling Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, including intervening in Mali to push back an Islamist rebellion in the West African state, one of the couple of reasons extremists target the country.
Their military interventions overseas have exposed them to be attacked by Islamist militants at home.
Griveaux said in a joint interview with LCI broadcaster and RTL newspaper in France that the attacker became a French citizen after his mother obtained citizenship in 2010.
He rejected criticism from President Emmanuel Macron opposition, that the government was not doing enough to avoid such attacks, saying, “Zero risk does not exist.”
Islamic State did claim responsibility for the attack, but provided no proof. Griveaux added the claim had not yet been fully authenticated.
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