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TERRORISM

Eiffel Tower knifeman ‘wanted to kill soldier’

A man arrested at the Eiffel Tower after brandishing a knife in front of tourists and security forces has told investigators he wanted to kill a soldier, sources close to the case told AFP on Sunday.

Eiffel Tower knifeman 'wanted to kill soldier'
AFP

The intruder, who is aged 18 and has a history of psychological problems, was arrested late on Saturday at the Paris monument after bursting past security and shouting “Allahu Akbar” (“God is Greatest”).

Armed soldiers who are permanently stationed at the Eiffel Tower surrounded him and ordered him to drop his weapon, which he did without attacking anyone, one security source said, asking not to be named.

In custody, he said he wanted to commit “an attack against a soldier and had been in contact with a member of the jihadist group Islamic State who encouraged him to take action,” a separate source told AFP.

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AFP

France has been in a state of emergency since November 2015 and has seen a string of attacks on security forces who have been regularly targeted, particularly those guarding key tourist sites.

In February, a man armed with a machete attacked four soldiers on patrol at Paris's Louvre Museum, while in April another extremist shot and killed a policeman on the Champs Elysees. 
 
In June, a 40-year-old Algeria doctorate student who had pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group attacked a policeman with a hammer outside Notre Dame cathedral.
 
Evacuation
 
Police had initially treated Saturday's Eiffel Tower incident as a criminal case, but anti-terror prosecutors have since taken over the investigation.
 
After the arrest, police checked the Eiffel Tower site and called for it to be evacuated at around 00:30, 15 minutes before it normally closes, a statement from the company that runs the monument said.  
 
The intruder was wearing a Paris Saint-Germain football shirt. At the time of the incident the tower was lit up with the colours of the team to welcome the club's new world-record signing, Brazilian star Neymar.
   
The legal source said the man with the knife, a Frenchman born in the West African state of Mauritania, was a patient in a psychiatric hospital who had been let out for the weekend.
 
He was found guilty of inciting terrorism and making death threats in December 2016 and received a suspended sentence.
 
The tower reopened on Sunday morning as usual at 09:00 am (0700 GMT) Paris mayor Anne Hidalgo praised the “professionalism and reactions” of security forces at the site.

CRIME

Surgeon fined for trying to sell Paris terror attack victim’s x-ray

A Paris court on Wednesday convicted a surgeon for trying to sell an X-Ray image of a wounded arm of a woman who survived the 2015 terror attacks in the French capital.

Surgeon fined for trying to sell Paris terror attack victim's x-ray

Found guilty of violating medical secrecy, renowned orthopaedic surgeon Emmanuel Masmejean must pay the victim €5,000 or face two months in jail, judges ordered.

Masmejean, who works at the Georges-Pompidou hospital in western Paris, posted the image of a young woman’s forearm penetrated by a Kalashnikov bullet on marketplace Opensea in late 2021.

The site allows its roughly 20 million users to trade non-fungible tokens (NFTs) – certificates of ownership of an artwork that are stored on a “blockchain” similar to the technology used to secure cryptocurrencies.

In the file’s description, the surgeon wrote that the young woman he had operated on had “lost her boyfriend in the attack” on the Bataclan concert hall, the focus of the November 2015 gun and bomb assault in which jihadists killed 130 people.

The X-Ray image never sold for the asking price of $2,776, and was removed from Opensea after being revealed by investigative website Mediapart in January.

Masmejean claimed at a September court hearing that he had been carrying out an “experiment” by putting a “striking and historic medical image” online – while acknowledging that it had been “idiocy, a mistake, a blunder”.

The court did not find him guilty of two further charges of abuse of personal data and illegally revealing harmful personal information.

Nor was he barred from practicing as prosecutors had urged, with the lead judge saying it would be “disproportionate and inappropriate” to inflict such a “social death” on the doctor.

The victim’s lawyer Elodie Abraham complained of a “politically correct” judgement.

“It doesn’t bother anyone that there’s been such a flagrant breach of medical secrecy. It’s not a good message for doctors,” Abraham said.

Neither Masmejean, who has been suspended from his hospital job, nor the victim were present for Wednesday’s ruling.

The surgeon may yet face professional consequences after appearing before the French medical association in September, his lawyer Ivan Terel said.

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