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Homeland Security

French Police Attacker Claimed Allegiance to IS

by Lisa Bryant June 14, 2016

France's President Francois Hollande Tuesday denounced the stabbing death of two police officials outside Paris, as the country hosts the Euro 2016 football championship. The suspect, Larossi Abballa, claimed allegiance to the Islamic State group and had a record of radicalism.

Speaking at an international meeting in Paris Tuesday, French President Francois Hollande called the murders of two police officials just hours before as incontestably a terrorist act.

He said the assailant had wanted to be known as a terrorist and the organization to which he claimed allegiance had itself claimed responsibility for the act. He said the international community must act together to fight terrorism.

The suspect had pledged loyalty to the leader of Islamic State, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said.

Abballa, first stabbed to death a police officer outside the officer's home in the Paris suburb of Magnanville. He then barricaded himself inside the house and killed the officer's partner, after taking her and the couple's three-year-old son hostage. The boy was rescued.

Islamic State claims responsibility

Police sources cited by the media said the man posted video of the attack on Facebook and claimed allegiance to the Islamic State group during the hostage negotiations. Witnesses also say he may have shouted "Allah Akbar" as he killed one of the police officers.

The Islamic State group's news agency "Amaq" has claimed responsibility for the attack, but Islamic State has not officially announced that the assailant belonged to the militant group.
The prosecutor's spokeswoman, Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre, said French authorities have "no reason" to doubt the claim.

According to media reports, Abballa lived in the Paris suburb of Mantes La Jolie, and had been jailed a few years ago for helping Islamist militants go to Pakistan. More recently, he was reportedly implicated in an inquiry involving a Syrian jihadist network.

Islamist specialist Mathieu Guidere told French radio that the apparent pattern of events – with the assailant first claiming responsibility and IS then reiterating that claim – shows how the terrorist group can now react almost immediately on social networks rather than relying on traditional media.

The assault comes just after a man shot dead 49 people in Orlando, Florida. France remains under a state of emergency since last November's attacks in Paris that killed 130 people. French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve says 100 people have been arrested so far this year for representing security threats.

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