Stabbings suspect 'was trying to target Charlie Hebdo'

  27 September 2020    Read: 806
Stabbings suspect

A man suspected of injuring two people with a meat cleaver in Paris has admitted to deliberately targeting the former offices of the satirical Charlie Hebdo magazine, French media report.

The man, an 18-year-old born in Pakistan, reportedly linked his actions to the magazine's recent republication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

Charlie Hebdo did this as a trial over the 2015 Islamist attack on the magazine which killed 12 people began.

The magazine's location is now secret.

The building in the French capital's 11th district which used to house Charlie Hebdo's offices is now used by a television production company.

But the attacker apparently believed the magazine's offices were still there, a source close to the investigation told the AFP news agency, confirming other French media reports.

The two victims of Friday's attack have not been officially named but police said they were a man and woman who worked at the production company.

Prime Minister Jean Castex told reporters at the scene - near Boulevard Richard-Lenoir - that their lives were not in danger.

The suspect, who was arrested not far from the scene on Friday, had "taken responsibility for his action", sources told AFP, adding that he placed his actions "in the context of the republication of the cartoons".

Republishing Prophet Muhammad's cartoons is not about free speech

He has not been named, but French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said the teenager arrived in the country three years ago "as an isolated minor" of Pakistani nationality.

Eight other people are in police custody over the attack, including a former flatmate of the main suspect.

But a 33-year-old Algerian man detained on Friday was released after being cleared of any involvement, a judicial source told AFP.

The unnamed man's lawyer told the news agency her client had actually tried to stop the attacker and should be regarded as a "hero".

Mr Darmanin said the attack was "clearly an act of Islamist terrorism" and police had underestimated the threat level in the area.

He said he had ordered security to be stepped up around synagogues this weekend for Yom Kippur, the holiest day in the Jewish calendar.




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