The president of the European Council, Charles Michel. Photo: Hatim Kaghat/Belga/dpa
The president of the European Council, Charles Michel, condemned this Sunday the attack carried out on Saturday night by a Frenchman who stabbed a German tourist to death and injured two people in the center of Paris, while the president of the European Commission ( CE), Ursula von der Leyen, said she was “shocked” by the event.
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”Terror has struck again, in Paris this time. The EU condemns this vile act. We will be inflexible with those who sow violence and division within our societies,” Michel wrote on his profile on the social network X (formerly Twitter).
He added that the protection of citizens is “an absolute priority, everywhere and at all times.”
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The president of the European Commission, for her part, stated on the same social network that she was “shocked and saddened by the senseless terrorist attack that occurred last night in Paris.”
”My thoughts are with the families of the victims,” he added.
The president of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen. EFE/EPA/MARTIN DIVISEK
The attack near the Eiffel Tower at around 9:00 p.m. (20:00 GMT) during a busy weekend came at a time when the country is on its highest alert, as tensions rise against the backdrop of the war between Israel and Hamas.
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Prosecutors specializing in terrorist incidents told AFP they had opened an investigation into the attacker, named Armand Rajabpour-Miyandoab, a French citizen born in 1997 to Iranian parents, who was arrested shortly after the knife and hammer attack.
They suspect the murder of the 23-year-old young man, identified as a German-Filipino citizen by a judicial source.
In addition, he will be investigated for attempted murder of the two injured, a 66-year-old British citizen and a 60-year-old French citizen, “in relation to a terrorist plot.”
The suspect told police he could not stand the killing of Muslims in “Afghanistan and Palestine” and accused France of being “complicit in what Israel is doing” in the Gaza Strip, Darmanin added. REUTERS/Stephanie Lecocq
Rajabpour-Miyandoab, known to authorities and being treated for a mental illness, shouted “Allahu Akbar” – which in Arabic means “God is greater” – at the time of the attack, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said in the place next to the Bir Hakeim bridge over the Seine River.
The suspect, who lived with his parents in the Essonne region south of Paris, told police he could not stand the killing of Muslims in “Afghanistan and Palestine” and accused France of being “complicit in what Israel is doing” in the Gaza Strip, Darmanin added.
Saturday’s attack provoked responses from the highest level of the French state.
“We will not give in to terrorism,” Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne wrote on X, formerly Twitter, after the attack.
President Emmanuel Macron said he was sending his condolences to the family of the man killed in the “terrorist attack.”
The police closed the area around the scene of the attack. REUTERS/Stephanie Lecocq
Police and security sources confirmed that the attacker had posted a video claiming responsibility on social media at the time of the attack, talking about “current events, the government, the murder of innocent Muslims.”
Investigators will closely examine his medical history, a security source told AFP, calling the attacker “very unstable and easily influenced.”
“Was he medically supervised as he should have been, as in fact he had been for some time?” said a police source.
Darmanin said the man had already been sentenced in 2016 to four years in prison for planning another attack in the Parisian shopping district of La Défense, which he did not carry out.
A taxi driver who witnessed the scene intervened, Darmanin added, saving the murdered tourist’s wife. The attacker then crossed the bridge, charged at others and injured one with a hammer.
The French Minister of the Interior, Gerald Darmanin. (Bertrand Guay, Pool via AP, Archive)
Pursuing police used a Taser to neutralize the man, who was then arrested.
Macron, writing in
Joseph S., 37, a supermarket manager who asked that his last name not be used, witnessed the scene while sitting at a bar.
He heard screams and people shouting “help, help” as they ran. A man wielding a hammer attacked a man who had fallen and police arrived five to 10 minutes later, he told AFP.
The country has suffered several attacks by Islamist extremists, including the November 2015 suicide and gun attack in Paris, claimed by the Islamic State group, in which 130 people died.
Pursuing police used a Taser to neutralize the man, who was then arrested. Europa Press/Contact/Alexis Sciard
There has been relative calm in recent years, even as officials have warned that the threat persists.
But tensions have risen in France, home to large Jewish and Muslim populations, following the Hamas attack on Israel on October 7 and the Israeli bombing of the Gaza Strip.
Security in Paris is also under special scrutiny as it prepares to host the 2024 Summer Olympics.
In October, Professor Dominique Bernard was murdered in the northern French city of Arras by a young radicalized Islamist from Russia’s Caucasus region.
(with information from AFP)