Champs-Elysees Attacker Had Wanted to ‘Die as a Martyr’ of Islam Since 2009

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A new report has shown that Islamic terrorist Karim Cheurfi, who killed a French police officer in April, had been a radical Islamist for well over a decade and expressed a desire to be a “martyr” as far back as 2009.

Seven months after he committed an act of Islamic terrorism in Paris, a profile of attacker Karim Cheurfi has finally started to emerge. Cheurfi, who had been a career criminal for most of his life, is said to have been radicalised by Islamists as early as 2002 when he spent time in Fleury-Mérogis prison, L’Express reports.

Known for his virulent hatred of police, Cheurfi spent a total of 15 years of his life behind bars where he eventually met Islamist Slimane Khalfaoui. Khalfaoui was well-known for his connections to al-Qaeda and had plotted a terror attack in Strasbourg in 2000.

Cheurfi’s father told investigators: “He already said in 2009 that he would like to die as a martyr … He had a negative vision of life, he said it was better to die as a martyr than live like, according to his terms, the disbelievers.”

Despite his conversion to radical Islam over a decade ago, Cheurfi did not appear on the radar of French authorities until late in 2016 over statements he made saying he wanted to kill police officers and about the war in Syria.

Intelligence operatives found that Cheurfi had been shopping for weapons on the internet and made an attempt in March, a month before his attack, to arrest him but were unsuccessful due to lack of definitive evidence.

After Cheurfi was shot dead by police following his attack, investigators found a note in which he declared his allegiance to Islamic State. Investigators say that other than the note, no other connection between the attacker and the terror group has been made.

Like many other French radical Islamists, Cheurfi was radicalised while in prison. The French prison system has become notorious for its facilitation of Islamists with some calling the prisons “Terrorist Universities“.

Earlier this month, two inmates at the Fresnes prison were not only radicalised but were also caught plotting a terror attack upon their release and used smuggled mobile phones to communicate with Islamic State operatives.

Follow Chris Tomlinson on Twitter at @TomlinsonCJ or email at ctomlinson(at) 


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