Paris knife attacker charged with terror offenses

A man suspected of stabbing a German tourist to death near the Eiffel Tower was charged on Wednesday, December 6, for « murder and attempted murder in connection with a terrorist enterprise, » for « recidivism, » and for « criminal terrorist conspiracy. » The National Anti-Terrorism Prosecutor’s Office (PNAT) had announced in the afternoon the opening of a judicial investigation into the attack and requested that Armand Rajabpour-Miyandoab be remanded in custody.

The deadly assault late on Saturday came with France at its highest alert level against the background of the war between Israel and the Palestinian militant group Hamas. It followed a series of recent isolated attacks in the country. The incident has increased security concerns in the run-up to the Paris Olympic Games that begin in July. The case is being handled by French anti-terrorist prosecutors who have opened an investigation into a « terrorist » plot.

Armand Rajabpour-Miyandoab, a French national born in 1997 to Iranian parents, is a known Islamist radical who has sworn allegiance to the Islamic State group and was under psychological surveillance for mental health issues. He was arrested over the killing of a 23-year-old man, identified as a German-Filipino citizen, with two blows from a hammer and four from a knife, as well as wounding two others.

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The police custody of the assailant’s relative was also lifted on Tuesday night, PNAT told Agence France-Presse (AFP). The police custody was lifted « without prosecution at this stage, » the same source said. This measure « was no longer necessary for the ongoing investigations, as there were no elements against him likely to characterize a criminal offense. »

According to a source close to the case, the 27-year-old woman « belongs to the jihadist sphere » and had recently received a marriage proposal from the Franco-Iranian Rajabpour-Miyandoab. According to a source close to the investigation, the 26-year-old assailant had « seen her the day before » his attack.

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‘Cold’ and ‘clinical’

The perpetrator of the attack, known to intelligence services for his radical Islamism and psychiatric disorders, said he had acted in « reaction to the persecution of Muslims around the world. » He appeared to the police « very cold », « clinical » and « disembodied, » according to a source close to the investigation.

The French government is under pressure following the attack and the one in mid-October in Arras in northern France, which claimed the life of a teacher and led to the national terror risk assessment being raised to the maximum « emergency attack » level.

« Every country in the world is exposed to risks that must be thwarted. We are mobilizing resources for these Olympic Games, and we will mobilize more if necessary, » said French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne in an interview with Le Figaro on Wednesday.

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Since Saturday, the assailant’s medical follow-up has raised questions and criticism. The anti-terrorist prosecutor, Jean-François Ricard, reported on Sunday evening that the assailant, who was on file for Islamist radicalization, was to receive « close psychiatric monitoring supervised by a coordinating doctor » until the end of his probation, on April 26, 2023, following a new psychiatric assessment.

Le Monde with AFP

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