Paris po­lice kill man with knife, fake ex­plo­sive vest

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - WORLD - THE AS­SO­CI­ATED PRESS

Po­lice shot and killed a man wear­ing a fake ex­plo­sive vest who threat­ened them with a butcher knife at a Paris po­lice sta­tion Thurs­day, a year al­most to the minute af­ter two Is­lamic ex­trem­ists burst into the of­fices of the satir­i­cal news­pa­per Char­lie Hebdo, killing 11 peo­ple and un­leash­ing a bloody 12 months in the French cap­i­tal.

The Paris pros­e­cu­tor’s anti-ter­ror­ism unit opened an in­ves­ti­ga­tion af­ter po­lice found a cell­phone, a piece of pa­per with an em­blem of the Is­lamic State group, and “an un­equiv­o­cal writ­ten claim of re­spon­si­bil­ity in Ara­bic” with the man’s body, the pros­e­cu­tor’s of­fice said. It did not pro­vide de­tails about the claim.

France has been un­der a state of emer­gency since a se­ries of at­tacks claimed by the Is­lamic State group killed 130 peo­ple in Paris on Nov. 13, and ten­sions in­creased this week as the an­niver­sary of the Jan­uary at­tacks ap­proached. Sol­diers were posted in front of schools and se­cu­rity forces were more present than usual amid a se­ries of trib­utes to the dead.

Of­fi­cials said the man shot to death Thurs­day threat­ened of­fi­cers at the en­trance of a po­lice sta­tion near the Mont­martre neigh­bour­hood, home to the Sacre Coeur Cathe­dral. Just mo­ments be­fore, French Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande, speak­ing in a dif­fer­ent lo­ca­tion, paid re­spects to of­fi­cers fallen in the line of duty.

The man at the po­lice sta­tion is be­lieved to have cried out “Al­lahu akbar,” Ara­bic for “God is great.” He has not been iden­ti­fied, and In­te­rior Min­istry spokesman Pierre-Henry Bran­det told The As­so­ci­ated Press that po­lice do not be­lieve any­one else was in­volved.

Alexis Mukenge, who saw the shoot­ing from in­side an­other build­ing, told the net­work iTele that po­lice told the man, “Stop. Move back.” Mukenge said of­fi­cers fired twice and the man im­me­di­ately dropped to the ground.

Video shot from a win­dow above the sta­tion and pro­vided to The As­so­ci­ated Press shows the man’s body ly­ing on the ground in a pool of blood, a bomb-de­tect­ing robot nearby.

Nora Bor­rias was un­able to get to her home in the neigh­bour­hood be­cause of the bar­ri­cades. Shaken by the in­ci­dent, she said “it’s like the Char­lie Hebdo af­fair isn’t over.”

Hol­lande had said ear­lier that a “ter­ror­ist threat” would con­tinue to weigh on France. The gov­ern­ment has an­nounced new mea­sures ex­tend­ing po­lice pow­ers to al­low of­fi­cers to use their weapons to “neu­tral­ize some­one who has just com­mit­ted one or sev­eral mur­ders and is likely to re­peat th­ese crimes.”

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