PARIS — France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor mentioned Sunday he has opened an investigation into the deadly stabbing of a 23-year-old German-Filipino vacationer close to the Eiffel Tower in Paris, allegedly by a person who had been below surveillance for suspected Islamic radicalization.
Jean-Francois Ricard mentioned in a information convention that suspect Armand Rajabpour-Miyandoab may face a preliminary cost of homicide in reference to a terrorist enterprise. He mentioned Rajabpour-Miyandoab is a French nationwide who’s being held in police custody.
Rajabpour-Miyandoab recorded a video earlier than the assault by which he swore allegiance to the Islamic State group and expressed help for Islamic extremists working in numerous areas, together with in Africa, Iraq, Syria, Egypt’s Sinai, Yemen, Iran and Pakistan, Ricard mentioned.
The video, in Arabic, was revealed on Rajabpour-Miyandoa’s account on X, previously Twitter, the place his current posts included references to the Israel-Hamas struggle, the prosecutor mentioned.
It wasn’t instantly clear if Rajabpour-Miyandoab had authorized illustration. A message left Sunday with the prosecutor’s workplace looking for to find him for remark was not instantly returned.
Ricard mentioned Rajabpour-Miyandoab was born in 1997 in Neuilly-Sur-Seine, outdoors Paris, in a household with no non secular affiliation. He transformed to Islam on the age of 18 and shortly adhered to Islamic extremist ideology, he mentioned.
In 2016, he had deliberate to affix the Islamic State group in Syria. The identical yr, he was convicted and imprisoned for 4 years, till 2020, on a cost of planning violence. He was below psychiatric remedy and was on a particular record for feared radicals, the prosecutor confirmed.
Because the finish earlier this yr of a probation interval throughout which he acquired necessary psychiatric care, Rajabpour-Miyandoab was positioned below the surveillance of intelligence providers, Ricard mentioned. His mom had in October expressed “issues” over her son isolating himself, however no proof was discovered that might have led to felony proceedings, he added.
Three different folks from Rajabpour-Miyandoab’s entourage and household have been detained by police for questioning, Ricard mentioned.
The apparently random assault close to the Eiffel Tower on Saturday night time has drawn particular concern for the French capital lower than a yr earlier than it hosts the Olympic Video games, with the opening ceremony on account of happen alongside the river in an unprecedented scenic begin within the coronary heart of Paris.
In an indication of that concern, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne referred to as a gathering for Sunday night with key ministers and officers charged with safety for a “complete assessment” of measures in place and the dealing with of the “most harmful people,” her workplace mentioned.
After killing the vacationer, the attacker crossed the bridge to town’s Proper Financial institution and injured two folks, a British and a French nationwide, with a hammer, authorities mentioned. Ricard mentioned each of them had been in a position to get again residence on Sunday.
Video circulating on the web confirmed cops, weapons drawn, cornering a person wearing black, his face lined and what gave the impression to be a knife in his proper hand.
The suspect cried “Allahu Akbar” (God is nice) and a police officer twice tasered the suspect earlier than arresting him, authorities mentioned.
Questioned by police, the suspect expressed anguish about Muslims dying, notably in Afghanistan and the Palestinian territories, and claimed that France was an confederate, Darmanin mentioned.
German International Minister Annalena Baerbock mentioned on X that the information from Paris was “surprising.”
“My ideas are with the family and friends of the younger German man,” she wrote. “Nearly his complete life was earlier than him. … Hate and terror don’t have any place in Europe.”
Italian Premier Giorgia Meloni, in a publish on X, expressed condolences for the sufferer’s household and associates and hope that Europe stands collectively towards terrorism. “A heartfelt thought to the relations and family members of the sufferer,” she wrote. “Could Europe keep united towards each type of terrorism.”
The French media broadly reported that the person, who lived along with his dad and mom within the Essonne area, outdoors Paris, was of Iranian origin.
“This individual was able to kill others,” Darmanin advised reporters, who together with different authorities members and President Emmanuel Macron praised cops for his or her response.
Nicely-known emergency doctor Patrick Pelloux, who was among the many first on the scene, advised BFM-TV there was a big amount of blood. Pelloux mentioned he was advised by the sufferer’s entourage that the suspect stopped them to ask for a cigarette, then plunged his knife into the sufferer. “He aimed on the head, then the again. He knew the place to strike,” Pelloux mentioned.
Ricard, the prosecutor, mentioned the suspect had a historical past of contacts through social networks with one of many two males infamous for the grotesque killing of a priest throughout Mass in 2016 in Saint-Etienne du Rouvray. He mentioned the suspect was additionally in contact with the person who killed a police couple at their residence in Yvelines, west of Paris, a month earlier.
France has been below a heightened terror alert because the deadly stabbing in October of a trainer within the northern metropolis of Arras by a former scholar initially from the Ingushetia area in Russia’s Caucasus Mountains and suspected of Islamic radicalization. That got here three years after one other trainer was killed outdoors Paris, beheaded by a radicalized Chechen later killed by police.
The Saturday assault introduced into sharp focus authorities’ concern for potential terrorist violence in the course of the 2024 Video games.
Simply days earlier, the Paris police chief had unveiled detailed plans for the Olympic Video games’ safety in Paris, with zones the place visitors might be restricted and folks might be searched. The police chief, Laurent Nunez, mentioned certainly one of their issues is that autos may very well be used as battering rams to plow by means of Olympic crowds.
Talking Sunday night on TF1 tv about safety issues in the course of the Olympics, Darmanin mentioned this yr’s Rugby World Cup “befell in good situations. So did the Pope’s go to to Marseille, and so did the King and Queen of England (go to to France).”
He added that police plans previous to the assault embody a safety perimeter with checkpoints across the Eiffel Tower.
Related Press writers John Leicester in Paris and Frances D’Emilio in Rome contributed to this report.