French police chief’s killing a ‘terrorist act’

French special forces at the scene of the killings in Magnanville, west of Paris. 14 June 2016Image copyright
AFP

Image caption

Officers of an elite police unit stormed the house in Magnanville

The attack on a policeman and his partner by a man claiming allegiance to so-called Islamic State is a “terrorist act”, France’s interior minister says.

The man stabbed the officer to death and took a woman and child hostage in their home in Magnanville, near Paris, before being killed by police.

The partner was found dead but the child was rescued.

French media say the attacker had been sentenced in 2013 for involvement with jihadist groups with links to Pakistan.

Unnamed sources identified him as 25-year-old Larossi Abballa, who lived in nearby Mantes-La-Jolie and was convicted for “criminal association with the aim of preparing terrorist acts”.

He was sentenced to a three-year term, with six months suspended, they said.

Islamic State’s Amaq news agency said an IS “fighter” carried out the attack.

If that is confirmed, it would be the first militant attack in France since a state of emergency was imposed following last November’s attacks which left 130 dead in Paris.

And it happens as the country is in high alert as it hosts the Euro football championship, which started on Friday.

“An appalling terrorist act was committed yesterday in Magnanville by an individual who attacked a police officer and his wife, who was herself an official in a police station,” Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said.

Speaking after a cabinet meeting held by President Francois Hollande, Mr Cazeneuve said more than 100 people seen as potential threats have been arrested in France this year, including in recent weeks.

‘Loud explosions’

French prosecutors have launched an anti-terror investigation into the incident.

Witnesses quoted by AFP said that the knife-wielding man may have shouted “Allahu akbar” (God is greater) when he attacked the 42-year-old policeman, who was not in uniform, outside his home.

Image copyright
AFP

Image caption

Man attacked policeman before entering house and taking a woman and child hostage, witnesses said

The attacker then went inside the house and took the woman, who was also a police officer, and a child hostage.

He is reported to have claimed allegiance to IS while talking to police negotiators.

Interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said France’s elite police Raid unit was brought in after the officer’s killer took hostages at around 21:00 (19:00 GMT).

He said negotiations had been unsuccessful and a decision had been made to “launch an assault” at about midnight.

Witnesses reported hearing loud explosions as the officers from the Raid unit moved in.

“This commander, this police officer was killed by the individual… (and) we discovered the body of a woman. The assailant, the criminal was killed. Thankfully, a little boy was saved. He is safe and sound,” Mr Brandet told reporters.

The victims have not yet been named. Magnanville is about 55 km (35 miles) north-west of the French capital.

French police chief’s killing a ‘terrorist act’

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