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First pictures released of murdered French police couple

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By Catherine Hardy
First pictures released of murdered French police couple
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  • Families give permission for photos to be published
  • List of attacker’s “potential targets” found
  • Suspected police killer posted on social media during standoff

First photographs released of murdered police couple

The families of two police workers stabbed to death by an attacker at their home on the outskirts of Paris have given permission for their photographs to be released to the media.

42-year-old police commander Jean-Baptiste Salvaing was attacked outside his home on Monday evening.

His partner and three-year-old child were then taken hostage.

The woman was found dead by police after they staged a raid on the house. The three-year-old is described as shocked but unharmed.

“He pledged allegiance to ISIL” – Paris prosecutor

The French prosecutor responsible for handling cases of terrorism says the man who killed the two couple in the Paris suburb of Magnanville on Monday evening had pledged allegiance to ISIL leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Francois Molins says attacker Larossi Abballa had also threatened to kill “non-believers”.

Speaking to reporters, Molins said:

  • the 25-year-old made the declaration to police negotiators during Monday’s standoff.
  • Abballa responded to ISIL calls to “kill non-believers where they live,” and with their families
  • Abballa had a list of targets including journalists and public figures

“The inquiry is underway,” Molins told reporters, “and searches have uncovered a list of well-known and professional potential targets including rappers, journalists, police officers and public figures.”

Molins gave no further details on the list, or whether it bore specific names.

What happened?

Police say Abballa stabbed the police commander to death outside the officer’s house in Magnanville, a north-west suburb of the French capital, on Monday evening.

He then holed up in the house with the 42-year-old officer’s partner and three-year-old child.

The woman and Abballa were found dead after a three-hour siege and police raid.

The child was rescued shocked but unharmed.

While inside the house, Abballa had posted tweets and videos on social media. These are now being analysed.

He also recorded a 12-minute video during the standoff.

The terrorism connection

  • Suspected killer identified as 25-year-old Larossi Abballa.
  • From nearby Mantes-La-Jolie
  • Sources say he was sentenced to three years in prison in 2013 for being a member of a jihadist cell linking France with Pakistan.
  • Was known to French police via an “S-file”

    Two people arrested

The authorities say two people have been detained in connection with the investigation into Monday’s double-killing.

Sources say they are close to the suspected

“This was terrorism” – Hollande

The French government says it is treating the killing of the police commander and his partner as a terrorist attack.

French President Francois Hollande spoke to the press after his government held an emergency meeting on Tuesday morning.

“This is undoubtedly a terrorist act,” he said. “The attacker wanted it to be recognised as such. He was neutralised thanks to the work of the security forces.”

French prosecutors (SDAT) have launched an anti-terrorism investigation.

France on high alert

A state of emergency remains active in France.

This was brought in after the terrorist attacks in Paris in November 2015, in which 130 people were killed and hundreds injured.

The country is on particularly high alert at the moment as it is hosting Europe’s top football event, the month-long Euro 2016 championship.

What they are saying

“He was a neighbourhood kid. I was surprised it was him. It’s sad to see things like that,” – Abballa’s neighbour Henriette Yenge.

“They hit the state. But they also hit where we least expect them,” – Magnanville Mayor Michel Lebouc talks about Islamist attackers.

“Today, every police officer is a target,” – Yves Lefebvre of police union Unite SGP Police FO says attackers can now find officers in their own homes.

The threat “is high in France, it’s high in Europe, it’s high in the Western world as shown by the events that happened 48 hours ago in the United States,” – French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve refers to the weekend shooting in a nightclub in Orlando.