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France honours police worker stabbed to death near Paris

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French police officers carry the portrait of Stephanie Monferme during the remembrance gathering in Rambouillet.
French police officers carry the portrait of Stephanie Monferme during the remembrance gathering in Rambouillet.   -   Copyright  Ludovic Marin, Pool Photo via AP
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France has held a national ceremony to honour a police official, who was stabbed to death last week in Rambouillet.

Stéphanie Monfermé was killed last Friday while working inside her police station in the quiet town southwest of Paris.

The suspected assailant was shot and killed by police, after what authorities say was an Islamic extremist attack.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex led Friday's ceremony alongside senior government and police officials.

"Your colleague was assassinated because she was serving her country, because she was in the service of France," Castex said.

Monfermé had worked for 28 years at the Rambouillet police station as an administrative officer and was unarmed when she was attacked and stabbed. She was posthumously awarded the Legion of Honour.

It was the latest of multiple attacks in recent years targeting French police.

The country's national anti-terrorism prosecutor's office took over the investigation, but has released only limited information about the assailant's suspected links to extremism.

The 36-year-old Tunisian-born suspect had no criminal record and was unknown to the intelligence services and the justice system.

"This fanaticism has declared war on us, but it is a cowardly war," Castex said, calling on France to "immediately unite".

French President Emmanuel Macron's government has been increasing police powers amid concerns about security.

The government presented a new counterterrorism and intelligence bill on Wednesday that had been planned before last week's attack.