Man Glorifying Terrorism Attempts to Hold French Police at Knifepoint

French police patrol near a bank in the port city of Le Havre, northwestern France, on August 6, 2020, where an armed man allegedly holds two people as hostages according to police and officials. - The man entered the premises at 4:45 pm (1445 GMT), a police official told AFP, …
SAMEER AL-DOUMY/AFP via Getty Images

A 21-year-old man was arrested in the city of Montpellier after attempting to hold three police officers at knifepoint while praising and advocating terrorism.

The incident took place on Tuesday evening in the Mosson-la Paillade district of the city and saw the 21-year-old approach the three officials while allegedly making incoherent remarks towards them.

The officers say the man then pulled out a knife and pointed it at the police while claiming to be in Montpellier on a “divine mission”. He praised terrorists while continuing to brandish the weapon at the officers, Metropolitain reports.

In response, one of the officers drew their firearm and shot into the air, which startled the young man, and he fled as police reinforcements also arrived on the scene. After a chase and a search of the area, the man was eventually put into custody.

The 21-year-old is said to be known to police, and it is claimed he also suffers from schizophrenia.

The anti-terror section of the Paris prosecutor has declined to pursue charges in the case. An expert from the Montpellier Court of Appeal is set to examine the man for psychiatric disorders which could lead to the charges being dropped.

There have been multiple lone wolf attacks on police and soldiers by radical Islamic extremists in the past several years, including a deadly stabbing by an IT professional working at the Paris police headquarters last year. The attacker, 45-year-old Michael Harpon, was an Islamic convert who killed his female supervisor and stabbed three others to death during his rampage.

In 2016, another police officer was murdered along with his wife by a man linked to Islamic State in the Paris suburb of Magnanville. Larossi Abballa had been under police surveillance prior to the murder and had been in prison for links to radical jihadist networks.

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


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