Hollande scolds spooks over soldier stabbing

French President François Hollande criticized a lack of information-sharing by intelligence services on Friday, after it emerged that a Muslim convert who stabbed a soldier in Paris was known to police, who didn't pass on their concerns.

Hollande scolds spooks over soldier stabbing
A police officer escorts 22-year-old 'Alexandre D.' a radical Muslim who admitted stabbing a French soldier on May 25th, into Paris police headquarters. Photo: Eric Feferberg/AFP

Hollande urged better intelligence coordination, noting that the new convert to Islam who stabbed a soldier at La Défense in Paris on May 25th had been on the radar of police, but the information was not passed on.

"There has to be a better follow up of local information by the intelligence services," he told the media networks France 24, RFI and TV5 Monde.

"The weakness was a piece of information which was not handled properly and it should be set right," he said.

"Every time that there is local information on an individual, it should absolutely be transmitted to the intelligence services."

A man named as Alexandre D. was arrested on Wednesday over the weekend stabbing of a soldier in Paris which came on the heels of the brutal murder of a soldier in London.

A judge charged him with "attempted murder linked to a terrorist enterprise" on Friday, after a judicial inquiry was opened earlier in the day, according to a judicial source.

Reports emerged that Alexandre D., 22, had attracted the attention of local police for his "behaviour" but this information was not shared with the intelligence services.

There were also problems with information sharing among intelligence agencies in the case of Mohamed Merah, the Islamist gunman who killed seven people, including three soldiers, in and around the southwestern city of Toulouse last year.

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Two mountaineers killed and 9 injured in ice fall in Swiss mountains

A Frenchwoman and a Spaniard were killed and nine other mountaineers were injured on Friday in an ice fall in southwest Switzerland, police said following a rescue attempt involving several helicopters.

Two mountaineers killed and 9 injured in ice fall in Swiss mountains

Police received calls at 6.20 am reporting that mountaineers had been caught up in falling seracs — columns of glacial ice formed by crevasses — on the Grand Combin, a glacial massif near the Italian border in the Wallis region.

Seven helicopters with mountain rescue experts flew to the scene, finding 17 mountaineers split among several groups.

“Two people died at the scene of the accident,” Wallis police said in a statement. They were a 40-year-old Frenchwoman and a 65-year-old man from Spain.

Nine mountaineers were airlifted to hospitals in nearby Sion and in Lausanne. Two of them are seriously injured, police said.

Other mountaineers were evacuated by helicopter.

The regional public prosecutor has opened an investigation “to determine the circumstances of this event”, the police said.

The serac fall happened at an altitude of 3,400 metres in the Plateau de Dejeuner section along the Voie du Gardien ascent route.

The Grand Combin massif has three summits above 4,000 metres, the highest of which is the Combin de Grafeneire at 4,314 metres.

The police issued a note of caution about setting off on such high-altitude expeditions.

“When the zero-degree-Celsius isotherm is around 4,000 metres above sea level, it is better to be extra careful or not attempt the route if in doubt,” Wallis police said.

“The golden rule is to find out beforehand from the mountain guides about the chosen route and its current feasibility.”