Paris Suspect

Suspect in Paris stabbings targeted Charlie Hebdo, official says – CBS News

The chief suspect in a double stabbing in Paris told investigators he carried out the attack in anger over caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad recently republished by satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, a judicial official said Saturday. Two people were wounded and seven people are in custody after Friday’s attack with a meat cleaver outside the newspaper’s former offices in eastern Paris, which counterterrorism authorities are investigating as an Islamic extremist attack.

Charlie Hebdo lost 12 employees in an al Qaeda attack in 2015 by French-born extremists who had criticized the prophet cartoons. The newspaper, which routinely mocks religious figures of all kinds, decided to republish the caricatures the day before the trial into the 2015 attacks opened earlier this month. The publication drew threats from militant groups as well as criticism from Muslims in multiple countries.

Questioned by investigators, the chief suspect acknowledged carrying out the attack and said he sought to target Charlie Hebdo because of the caricatures, according to an official close to the investigation who wasn’t authorized to be publicly named discussing an ongoing investigation.

The suspect had been arrested a month ago for carrying a screwdriver, but wasn’t on police radar for Islamic radicalization, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said. He said the screwdriver was considered a weapon, but did not explain why.

France Knife Attack
Police officers gather in the area of a knife attack near the former offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, Friday Sept. 25, 2020 in Paris. 

Thibault Camus / AP

The suspect arrived in France three years ago as an unaccompanied minor, apparently from Pakistan, but his identity was still being verified, the minister said.

Seven others were detained in the aftermath of Friday’s attack, but one has been released, the official said. Five of those in custody were detained in the Paris suburb of Pantin in a residence where the suspect is believed to have lived.

The two people wounded in Friday’s attack were a woman and a man working at the Premieres Lignes documentary production company who had stepped outside for a smoke break. Company co-founder Luc Hermann told broadcaster France-Info that they remain hospitalized Saturday, but their condition was “reassuring.”

Prime Minister Jean Castex, visiting Paris police headquarters Saturday, pledged to step up the fight against terrorism, saying “the enemies of the republic will not win.”

The interior minister conceded that security was lacking on the street where Charlie Hebdo was once headquartered, and ordered special protection for all “symbolic sites,” noting in particular Jewish sites around the Yom Kippur holiday this weekend. A Jewish grocery store was targeted days after the Charlie Hebdo newsroom massacre, in what authorities say were coordinated attacks.

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Paris Police

Paris Police Suspect Terrorism In Attack Near Former ‘Charlie Hebdo’ Offices – NPR

An officer of the French National Gendarmerie guards an area near the former Paris offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, where two people were wounded Friday in an attack with a sharp object that one witness described as a hatchet.

Arina Lebedeva/TASS/Getty Images

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Arina Lebedeva/TASS/Getty Images

An officer of the French National Gendarmerie guards an area near the former Paris offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, where two people were wounded Friday in an attack with a sharp object that one witness described as a hatchet.

Arina Lebedeva/TASS/Getty Images

Police in France are investigating whether terrorism was the motive for an attack that seriously wounded two people near the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo’s former Paris offices, where a dozen people were gunned down by Islamist extremists in 2015.

Authorities say they have arrested two people in connection with the assault, which reportedly involved a sharp object that one witness described as a hatchet.

The attack comes as 14 defendants stand trial for aiding and abetting the perpetrators of the Jan. 7, 2015, assault in which brothers Chérif and Said Kouachi — armed with assault rifles, submachine guns, grenades and pistols — stormed the Charlie Hebdo offices, firing on staff. As the two assailants left the scene, they reportedly shouted that they had “avenged the Prophet.” The Yemen-based affiliate of Al-Qaida later claimed responsibility.

While no firm link has yet been established between Friday’s attack and the one in 2015 that killed 10 journalists, a security guard and a police officer, Paris prosecutor Remy Heitz said the timing and place of Friday’s attack is why it is being investigated as a possible terrorist act.

Heitz spoke near the scene of the latest attack. He stood alongside French Prime Minister Jean Castex.

ALERTE : Un événement grave a eu lieu à #Paris11, secteur Richard Lenoir.

Les forces de sécurité et de secours sont sur place.

Évitez le secteur et suivez les consignes des autorités.

D’autres informations sont à venir sur ce compte.

— Ministère de l’Intérieur – Alerte (@Beauvau_Alerte) September 25, 2020

“First of all, there’s the location of the attack right here in front of Charlie Hebdo‘s former offices,” Heitz said. “And secondly, it happened at the exact time when the trial of those who may have helped the 2015 attackers is underway.”

Castex told journalists that the two victims’ lives were no longer in danger, “Thank God.”

A journalist in the offices that now house a different news agency saw Friday’s attack from the window and described it as chilling.

“I saw someone in the street with a kind of hatchet, and he attacked two people who were standing in front of the building,” Paul Morreira told French television. “He attacked them with this hatchet and he ran off. We were evacuated by force from the office.”

Charlie Hebdo says it has received new threats since the trial began earlier this month, and it reprinted the offending cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, vowing in an editorial to “never lie down.”

'Charlie Hebdo' To Reprint Muhammad Cartoons As Trial Linked To 2src15 Attack Begins

While there was a muted response to the reprinting of the cartoons from France’s large Muslim community (France’s top Imam told people to ignore the cartoons and focus on the victims), Iran and al-Qaida expressed anger.

The irreverent magazine, which also regularly pillories the Catholic Church, has long lived under a fatwa from extremists. Last week, the head of Charlie Hebdo‘s human resources was exfiltrated from her apartment under police escort after threats to her life were deemed credible.

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Paris Police

Paris police brutality protest turns violent –

Several thousand people defied a coronavirus-related ban on protests to pay homage to George Floyd and Adama Traore, a French Black man who died in police custody.

Tear gas choked Paris streets as riot police faced off with protesters setting fires amid growing global outrage over Floyd’s death in the United States, racial injustice and heavy-handed police tactics around the world.


Police had banned the protest because of coronavirus-related restrictions that forbid any gathering of more than 10 people.

French protesters took a knee and raised their fists while firefighters struggled to extinguish multiple blazes as a largely peaceful, multiracial demonstration degenerated into scattered tensions. 

Paris says Black Lives

— Yasmina Bennani (@YASMINAREBEL) June 2, 2020

Two small fires broke out, and green and grey barriers surrounding a construction site were knocked over. 

Tensions also erupted at a related protest in the southern city of Marseille.

Many of the protesters drew inspiration from the protest movement in the US over the police killing of Floyd, an unarmed Black man, brandishing viral slogans in English such as “Black Lives Matter” and “I can’t breathe”.

“Today we are not just talking about the fight of the Traore family. It is the fight for everyone. When we fight for George Floyd, we fight for Adama Traore,” Adama’s sister Assa Traore said at the protest.

“What is happening in the United States is an echo of what is happening in France,” she added.

Protesters holding placards attend a banned demonstration planned in memory of Adama Traore, a 24-year old black Frenchman who died in a 2src16 police operation which some have likened

Protesters holding placards attend a banned demonstration planned in memory of Adama Traore, a 24-year old Black Frenchman who died in 2016 in police custody [Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters]

In 2016, following a dispute over an identity check, Traore, 24, was apprehended in a house where he hid after leading police on a 15-minute chase.

He lost consciousness in their vehicle and died at a nearby police station. He was still handcuffed when paramedics arrived.

One of the three arresting officers told investigators that Traore had been pinned down with their combined bodyweight after his arrest.

Last Friday, French medical experts exonerated the three police officers, dismissing a medical report commissioned by the young man’s family that said he had died of asphyxiation.

It was the third official report to clear the officers.

Adding to the controversy, a new probe commissioned by the Traore family said on Tuesday his death was caused by the arrest technique used by the officers, a source said.

‘Not violent, nor racist’ 

Paris police chief Didier Lallement wrote a letter to police officers defending their conduct, sympathising with the “pain” officers must feel “faced with accusations of violence and racism, repeated endlessly by social networks and certain activist groups”.

The Paris police force “is not violent, nor racist: it acts within the framework of the right to liberty for all,” he insisted in an email to the city’s 27,500 law enforcers.

Star French actress Camelia Jordana, who is of Algerian origin, was rebuked last month by the French interior minister for saying people “get massacred” by the police in the Paris suburbs due to the colour of their skin.

Several French officers have also been investigated for brutality against members of the public at long-running “yellow vest” anti-government rallies, and more recent anti-pension reform strikes.

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