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Suspect remains in custody after German tourist fatally stabbed in Paris 'terrorist attack'

Flowers are lain near where a tourist was stabbed to death near the Eiffel Tower in Paris
Flowers are lain near where a tourist was stabbed to death near the Eiffel Tower in Paris Copyright DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty Images
Copyright DIMITAR DILKOFF/AFP via Getty Images
By Euronews with Agencies
Published on Updated
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The fatal attack occurred in the 15th district of the French capital with the assailant using a knife to kill the German tourist, who has not been identified.

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An apparent radical Islamist who killed a young German-Filipino tourist and injured two other people near the Eiffel Tower in Paris on Saturday evening remains in police custody, with a psychiatric follow-up expected.

According to a source close to the investigation, the accused, Armand Rajabpour-Miyandoab, was sentenced to five years in prison for criminal conspiracy with a view to preparing an act of terrorism, after a planned violent action at Defence in 2016. He was released from prison in 2020 after four years of detention.

At a press conference on Sunday, French National Counterterrorism Prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard, said the suspect had pledged allegiance to the so-called Islamic State group in a pre-recorded video. 

"A previous judicial investigation has shown that he came from a family with no religious commitment and that he converted to Islam at the age of 18 in 2015, quickly adhering to Islamic extremist ideology. "

Three "members of the entourage" of the attacker are currently in police custody, the national anti-terrorism prosecutor's office said on Sunday.

The events took place on Saturday around 9:00 p.m local town in a highly touristic place in the capital city, near the Bir Hakeim bridge spanning the Seine.

The stabbed tourist was of German and Filipino nationality. According to the emergency doctor, Patrick Pelloux, who was on duty, the man and his partner, who was seriously shocked but did not suffer any bodily injuries, were both nurses.

The assailant then attacked two men with a hammer. They were revealed to be a 60-year-old Frenchman and a 66-year-old British man.

Writing on X, French President Emmanuel Macron, who is at the COP28 summit in Dubai, sent his thoughts to all those affected by what he called the "terrorist attack". 

On Sunday, the German Interior Minister denounced the attack as an “abominable crime”.

Rajabpour-Miyandoab, a 26-year-old Franco-Iranian, was arrested by the police shortly after the attack and placed in police custody in the premises of the anti-terrorist section.

A video without sound posted on social networks shows police officers holding at gunpoint a man, dressed in black and his face partially hidden, who steps back to get away from them in the street while brandishing a hammer in their direction.

According to the mayor of the 15th arrondissement Philippe Goujon to AFP, the attacker told the police officers who approached him to arrest him that he had an explosive belt, which was not the case.

Known to the justice services for radical Islamism and psychiatric disorders, he shouted “Allah Akbar” - or “God is great” at the time of the events, according to a police source.

He reportedly told the police who arrested him that he "could no longer bear to see Muslims die, both in Afghanistan and in Palestine."

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He also accused France of being "complicit in what Israel was doing" in the Middle East.

The assailant published a video on social networks claiming responsibility for his attack, police and security sources confirmed to AFP.

France has been under a heightened terror alert since the fatal stabbing in October of a teacher in the northern city of Arras by a former student originally from the Ingushetia region in Russia's Caucasus Mountains and suspected of Islamic radicalization. That fatal attack came three years after another teacher was killed outside Paris, beheaded by a radicalized Chechen later killed by police.

The Saturday attack raised the fear level in the French capital, still marked by the 2015 attacks on cafes and a music hall by Islamist radicals that killed 130 people.

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“We will cede nothing in the face of terrorism. Never,” Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne said on X, formerly Twitter, sending her condolences to the victims and their families.

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