The Islamic State’s own news agency was quick to claim responsibility for a double murder last night after a young man stabbed a senior police officer and his wife to death in a Paris suburb.
French president Francois Hollande confirmed the attack was “unquestionably a terrorist act”, and French newspapers this morning are reporting that the killer, 25-year-old Larossi Abballa had already been convicted for terror offences.
The police Commissioner, identified as 42-year old Jean-Baptiste Salvaing was stabbed to death while in civilian clothes outside his home last night. The killer then barricaded himself inside the home where he cut Jessica Salvaing’s throat. The wife of the slain officer, Mrs. Salvaing worked for the French police in an administrative role and also died of her wounds.
While holed up in the house, it is reported by French news outlets that the killer ‘Facebook Live’ live-streamed a video feed of the killings to his profile — maintained under the pseudonym “Mohamed Ali” — and uploaded pictures of his victims.
During the video livecast which took place before his account was suspended by Facebook the killer mused what to do with the three year old child who sat near him after he killed it’s mother, and called on his followers to wage jihad against “police officers, prison guards, journalists, rappers”. According to Le Figaro the killer claimed “the euro will be a cemetery”, referring possibly to the Euro 2016 football tournament, or the continent itself.
After “several hours of negotiations”, a police commando unit stormed the house, shooting Mr. Abballa dead, but recovering the police officer’s three year old son who was said to be “shocked but unharmed”.
Police have made two arrests this morning following raids on the killer’s apartment. Although those held in police custody have not been identified, they are said to be “relations” of Abballa.
The ability of French counter-terror police to adequately track and monitor the thousands of potential terror suspects living and moving across France and the European Union through the Schengen borderless zone will again be called into question after it was revealed this morning the killer was already known to police, reports Le Figaro. Larossi Abballa was convicted in 2013 and jailed for three years for terror recruitment in a plot linking France and Pakistan.
The terrorist spent just six months in prison before being released to live close to Commissioner Salvaing.
The Islamic State claimed the attack last night, with the Amaq agency — the same ‘news’ arm of ISIS which claimed responsibility for Sunday’s Pulse nightclub killing in Orlando, Florida — reporting “Islamic State fighter kills deputy chief of the police station in the city of Les Mureaux and his wife with blade weapons near Paris”.
— الرقة تذبح بصمت (@Raqqa_SL) June 13, 2016
France is already on the highest level of terror alert in anticipation of attacks during the Euro 2016 football tournament. Following an emergency cabinet meeting at the Elysee Palace this morning French President Hollande called it a “cowardly act” and said the nation faces a “terrorist threat of great importance”. He said the state had “mobilised considerable resources” to fight the threat.
A spokesman for France’s trade union of Police Commissioners told press his colleagues were in “shock, absolute horror” at the attack. Lamenting the development in Islamist terrorism that now sees off-duty officers out of uniform targeted by killers, he said: “It’s unheard of! They now attack the police and their families at home. It is very disturbing. My thoughts go primarily to the family of these two police officers, and their three year old boy who survived the madness”.
Those who see president Hollande as having failed to protect the nation from Islamic terror have been vocal in their condemnation. Former president Nicolas Sarkozy, who hopes to run again in 2017 said the nation’s level of vigilance “must be adapted without delay”, and the government must “strengthen the security of the French, and the protection of our security forces… the whole nation is under attack”.
Riding high in the polls is Front National candidate Marine Le Pen, who called it the “umpteenth attack” against France by Islamic radicals on Twitter. She said “the massacre of these two police officers in front of their baby is a crime” and that “the relentless fight against Islamism must finally start”.
Le massacre de ce couple de policiers devant leur bébé est le crime de trop.La lutte, implacable,contre l'islamisme doit enfin commencer MLP
— Marine Le Pen (@MLP_officiel) June 14, 2016
In target, motivation, and method yesterday’s killing is similar to a 2014 terror attack in Tours, France. Although hardly reported in French or international media, three police officers were hospitalised after being seriously injured by Burundian-born French citizen Bertrand Nzohabonayo stormed a police station with a knife, shouting “Allahu Akbar!”. A known criminal, 20-year-old Mr. Nzohabonayo was shot dead at the scene but wasn’t considered a terror threat by the French state, despite his brother being on a terror watch-list.
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