• France's news in English
 
app_header_v3
What we know of attack on Paris police station
The body of the man killed by police lies on the pavement. Photo: AFP

What we know of attack on Paris police station

The Local · 7 Jan 2016, 16:55

Published: 07 Jan 2016 16:55 GMT+01:00
Updated: 07 Jan 2016 16:55 GMT+01:00

What actually happened?

At around 11:30am, exactly the time that one year ago the Kouachi brothers opened fire at Charlie Hebdo's offices, a man wearing a coat approached the police station on Rue de la Goutte d'Or in the 18th arrondissement in Paris.

According to prosecutors the man approached the police standing guard at the entrance to the station and pulled out a meat cleaver threatening the officers. 

According to prosecutors the man also shouted the words "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest) at police, however several witnesses who spoke to French media have disputed this claim.

French prosecutors also said the man was wearing what appeared to be an explosives vest although it was later found to be a fake.

A source close to the investigation told AFP.He was "wearing a pouch under his coat with a wire hanging from it, but the device "contained no explosives".

Witnesses say police shouted at the man "get away, get away" after which he put his hands up in the air.

But when he moved towards the officers again they opened fire. Witnesses reported three to four shots being fired. The man died of his wounds. Images shared on social media showed him lying on the pavement outside the police station with what appeared to be the meat cleaver next to his body.

What do we know of the attacker?

The man had been convicted of theft in 2013, a source close to the investigation told AFP.
 
Investigators matched the man's fingerprints with those on file for the convicted thief, a homeless man who identified himself at the time as Sallah Ali, born in the Moroccan city of Casablanca in 1995.

Prosecutors have confirmed that a mobile phone was found on the attacker, which may offer them more. Reports say that messages in both Arabic and German were found on the phone. 

Was it a terrorist attack?

Initially it appeared that police were treating it as an assault by an individual rather than a terrorist attack, but that changed when they discovered a printed flag of the terror group Isis on the man's body.

As well as the Isis emblem, prosecutors say they also found a handwritten claim for the attack written in Arabic. That message made it clear he was attacking police as revenge for deaths in Syria, according to L'Express news site.

BFM TV's own sources says the note contained a declaration of allegiance to the head of Isis Abu Bakr Al-Baghdadi.

As a result the specialist counter terrorist police have taken charge of the investigation and will have the job of determining whether the attacker had any concrete links to Isis or any other terror group.

They will also have to determine whether he decided to act alone or was under orders or guidance from someone else.

Was the incident timed to coincide with Charlie Hebdo anniversary?

It appears too much of a coincidence that the attack took place a year to the day since the Charlie Hebdo attack that left 12 dead. It also occurred at the very same time, 11:30am, that Said and Cherif Kouachi opened fire on the staff of the satirical magazine.

Story continues below…

However France has seen a number of attacks and attempted attacks since this time last year and the government has frequently warned that more are planned, so the man's motives may have had nothing to do with the anniversary.

It's not the first time police have been attacked in this way?

Thursday's incident in Paris bore a striking similarity to an incident that took place near the town of Tours on December 20th 2014.

On that day French police shot dead a man who attacked them with a knife in a police station in Joué-lès-Tours near the city of Tours while shouting "Allahu Akbar".

The man injured the face of an officer at the entrance of the police station and injured two others before he was shot. 

French police are on high alert after Isis called for their followers to carry out attacks them. Three officers will killed in the attacks of January 2015.

As the Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said on a visit to the Goutte d'Or on Thursday,"the police are on the front line" in the fight against terrorism.

Today's headlines
Mixed reaction from the French as UK votes for Brexit
Photo: AFP

The Brexit vote has prompted a mixed bag of reactions from the French public.

Opinion - Brexit seen from abroad
'Today it's hard not to feel ashamed to be British'
Photo: AFP

Apologies France, we may have just messed up your country too.

Brexit
French in UK: 'Brexit vote is clearly against foreigners'
The French Bookshop in London's Kensington. Photo: AFP

Spare a thought for the French people living in the UK right now. They didn't even get to vote.

Hollande: Brexit vote 'a grave test for Europe'
Photo: AFP

President Francois Hollande said on Friday that he already regrets the UK's "painful choice".

Brexit - Property
How Brexit could now scupper that dream move to France
A house of sale in La-Faute-sur-Mer (Vendée). Photo: Frank Perry/AFP

The dream move to France may have to be put on hold or simply dropped.

Brexit
Brexit limbo: What happens next for Brits in France?
Brits won't be forced home, of course, but are forced to live in limbo for a while. Photo: AFP

So what happens now for Brits in France? Nothing too dramatic, but a lot of uncertainty amid legal limbo.

Brexpats on Brexit
Brexit: Life for Brits in France will get more complicated
Will France still be paradise for British expats after a Brexit? Photo: Simon/FlickR

After Britain voted to leave the EU, here's a look at what an EU legal expert had to say about the possible knock on effects for expats in France.

France up next? Le Pen hails Brexit and demands vote

Friday's historic Brexit vote has sent tremors across the English Channel, where the political class had mixed reactions to the news that the UK had voted to leave the EU.

Worried after Brexit? Here's how to become French
Could it be time to become a French citizen? Photo: AFP

After the UK voted for Brexit, many Brits in France will no doubt explore the possibility of becoming a French citizen. Here's some guidance.

Brits in France left stunned after UK votes for Brexit
Photo: AFP

After the UK voted to leave the EU and the pound was sent crashing, British nationals living in France have been left stunned and concerned about the future.

Sponsored Article
Education abroad: How to find an international school
Gallery
Ten reasons why you should think about becoming French
Sponsored Article
Why you should attend an international job fair
Analysis & Opinion
Brexit: Life for Brits in France 'will get more complicated'
Culture
20 English words that 'should be banished' from French
National
Best Briehaviour: A guide to French cheese etiquette
Features
And the best city in France for expats to live in is...?
Society
Forget bikes, Paris is set to roll out scooter rentals
National
'We fear for our safety': French police feel the strain
Lifestyle
Why Rennes (and not Paris) is the best city in France for expats to live
National
Why are the French losing appetite for baguettes?
Lifestyle
Naturism booms in France as young eager to ditch clothes
Lifestyle
Is working life better in London or Paris?
National
Dear Americans: Please come to Paris
National
It's official (kind of): French work fewest hours in EU
And the best football fans of Euro 2016 in France are?
National
Paris has wettest spring in 100 years and it's hitting morale
Police murders remind France of complexity of terror threat
National
IN PICTURES: Labour law protests in Paris turn ugly
National
Double murder just latest jihadist attack on French police and soldiers
International
French police appear unprepared for hooligan threat at Euro 2016
Sport
An A to Z guide of what to expect in France for Euro 2016
Sport
France bans matches from being shown on cafe terraces
National
Readers' views: 'If Brexit happens I'm becoming French just to stay in EU'
Technology
Should this be the new Metro map for Paris?
2,734
jobs available