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Suspect in French knife attack says he was targeting Charlie Hebdo

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Police officers gather in the area of a knife attack near the former offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, Friday Sept. 25, 2020 in Paris.
Police officers gather in the area of a knife attack near the former offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, Friday Sept. 25, 2020 in Paris.   -   Copyright  AP Photo/Thibault Camus
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The main suspect in the knife attack that injured two outside the former Charlie Hebdo offices in Paris took responsibility for the act, according to AFP, citing an investigation source.

The 18-year-old acknowledged he was targeting Charlie Hebdo and believed that the targeted premises were still those of magazine, the source confirmed to AFP.

Those offices were the site of the deadly 2015 terror attack orchestrated by the Kouachi brothers who killed 12 people and injured 11.

Two people were injured in the attack on Friday, a young man and woman who work for production company Premières Lignes.

It comes a few weeks into the trial over the January 2015 attacks which began with Charlie Hebdo and ended with hostages taken in a Jewish supermarket. Fourteen alleged accomplices are on trial.

What do we know about the suspect and his motive?

The suspect was born in Pakistan and arrived in France three years ago, according to France's interior minister.

At least nine people have been detained in connection with the main suspect including his brother and five men who were at his home in Pantin.

Sources confirmed to AFP that the suspect took responsibility for the attack and said he was targeting Charlie Hebdo, information that has also been reported by other French media.

'Still at war'

A terror probe has been opened into the knife attack, prosecutors said on Friday.

"We are still at war against Islamist terrorism," said interior minister Gérald Darmanin in an interview with France 2.

The knife attack on Friday was a reminder of a wave of terror attacks that began in France in 2015 and have left 258 dead.

Prime Minister Jean Castex, who visited the scene along with Darmanin and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said the victims' lives were not in danger.

"I reaffirm our unwavering attachment to freedom of the press, the fight against anti-terrorism and I wish to affirm our full mobilisation to the nation," he added.