Stabbing Near Former Charlie Hebdo Office In Paris, Suspect Believed To Be Pakistani
By RFE/RL September 25, 2020
A stabbing that left two people injured in Paris near the former offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo -- the scene of a 2015 massacre that killed 12 people -- is being treated as a terror attack, the French interior minister said.
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on September 25 the knifing was "clearly an act of Islamist terrorism."
"Obviously, there is little doubt. It's a new bloody attack against our country, against journalists, against this society," he said in an interview with the France 2 television station.
The interior minister said the main suspect was an 18-year-old believed to have arrived in France three years ago as an unaccompanied minor from Pakistan. His identity is still being verified.
The main suspect was arrested on the steps of the Bastille Opera not far from the attack site with blood on his clothing. A blade, described as a machete or a meat cleaver, was recovered at the scene of the attack.
An Algerian man was also arrested shortly after the attack for possible links to the main suspect. Hours later, five other people said to be of Pakistani origin were taken into custody for questioning during a raid on the main suspect's home in Paris.
The interior minister said the 18-year-old had been previously arrested for carrying a screwdriver but was not known to be radicalized.
France's counterterrorism prosecutor's office said that an investigation had been opened into "attempted murder in relation to a terrorist enterprise" and "conspiracy with terrorists."
Premieres Lignes news-production agency said the wounded were its employees -- a man and a woman taking a cigarette break outside. Authorities said their injuries were serious but not life threatening.
The attack comes as a high-profile trial is under way in Paris of 14 people including three fugitives, accused of helping two militants carry out the January 2015 attack on Charlie Hebdo.
The magazine has since moved to a secret location guarded by police.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex noted the "symbolic site" of the knife attack, "at the very moment where the trial into the atrocious acts against Charlie Hebdo is under way."
The court has heard that the suspects had sought to avenge the Prophet Muhammad, nearly a decade after Charlie Hebdo published cartoons mocking him.
Ahead of the start of the trial three weeks ago, Charlie Hebdo reprinted some of the caricatures.
With reporting by AP, AFP, Reuters, dpa, and the BBC
Copyright (c) 2020. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.
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