Tags: ISIS/Islamic State | Paris Attacks | EU | France | Paris Police Shot | Gunman

Paris Gunman Had Long Criminal Record, Carried Note Defending ISIS

Image: Paris Gunman Had Long Criminal Record, Carried Note Defending ISIS
A man leaves flowers on the Champs-Elysees Avenue the day after a policeman was killed. (Reuters) 

Friday, 21 Apr 2017 01:13 PM

PARIS — The Paris prosecutor says the Champs-Elysees attacker had a note defending the Islamic State group with him when he opened fire on police officers.

Anti-terrorism prosecutor Francois Molins said during a news conference Friday that the note apparently fell out of the pocket of Karim Cheurfi, a 39-year-old with a criminal record.

Molins says the note praised ISIS and listed the addresses of security sites.

The extremist group claimed Thursday's attack in which one police officer was killed. Cheurfi was shot and killed by officers.

Molins said Cheurfi had a long police record, notably for trying to attack police in the past. The prosecutor said Cheurfi was arrested in February, but later released for lack of evidence of a threat.

Investigators are trying to assess whether Cheurfi had accomplices, a French prosecutor said on Friday, adding that the shooter had never shown any signs of radicalization despite a long police history.

Cheurfi traveled to Algeria in January and February despite having to report regularly to police.

The policeman killed on Paris' most famous boulevard has been identified as Xavier Jugele by Flag!, a French association of LGBT police officers.

The group's president, Mickael Bucheron, told The Associated Press the slain officer would have celebrated his 38th birthday at the beginning of May.

Jugele was among the officers who responded to the gun and bomb attack on Paris' Bataclan concert hall in November 2015, part of a wave of assaults in the French capital that killed 130 people, he told People.com when the venue reopened a year later with a concert by Sting.

People quoted him as saying how happy he was to be at the "symbolic" reopening, "here to defend our civic values."

"This concert's to celebrate life. To say 'No' to terrorists," it quoted Jugele as saying.

French president Francois Hollande has visited a police officer who was seriously injured in Thursday's attack on the Champs-Elysees in Paris.

The president's office said Hollande went to the Hospital Georges-Pompidou with Prime Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and Interior Minister Matthias Fekl. The officer was one of two wounded in the attack, along with a German tourist.

French presidential hopeful Emmanuel Macron has called on the French people not to succumb to fear, division and intimidation.

One day after the shootings of police officers in Paris and just two days before the first round of the presidential election, Macron said in a video posted online: "the terrorist's will is to destabilize the country."

"In such circumstances, the role of the president of the Republic as the army chief and guardian of our institutions is to protect the French. I am ready," he said.

Macron, an independent centrist considered as one of the front-runners, recalled a series of security measures listed in his campaign platform: boost police and military forces and intelligence services, and pursue France's military operations against the Islamic state group in Iraq and Syria.

The two top contenders Sunday will advance to the runoff on May 7.

Belgium's interior minister says Islamic State gave a false name for the man who attacked police on Paris' Champs-Elysees.

Islamic State's claim of responsibility came just a few hours after the attack — far more quickly than other similar claims — and the statement gave the attacker a pseudonym that would mean he was Belgian or had ties to Belgium.

Belgian Interior Minister Jan Jambon said Friday, "The guy who yesterday did the act was not a Belgian. He was French."

Asked about the Abu Yusuf Al-Beljiki pseudonym given by IS, Jambon said he "is certainly not the guy who committed the crime yesterday."

IS has been losing territory in Iraq and Syria and has seen the number of foreign recruits, notably from Europe, dwindle.

The swift claim indicated the group may have been trying to capitalize on the widespread attention from a high-profile attack at a time when Islamic extremism and security are at the center of France's presidential campaign.

Far-right presidential candidate Marine Le Pen called on the government to restore France's borders immediately following the shooting of Paris officers in Paris.

The leader of the National Front wants France to exit the European passport-free Schengen area.

In a statement from her campaign headquarter in Paris, she asked the government and judicial authorities to handle the case of all individuals on the French territory known for "their adhesion to the enemy's ideology".

She wants foreigners signaled as Islamic radicals to be expelled from the country and French nationals identified for the same reason to face trial.

Le Pen, who has campaigned on anti-immigration views and a strong security stance, is seeking to give her campaign a last boost ahead of Sunday's vote for the first round of the presidential election. Latest polls suggest she is in a position to be among the two top contenders and advance to the May 7 runoff.

The Paris prosecutors' office leading the investigation into the Champs-Elysees gun attack says police have detained for questioning three family members of the suspected gunman, who was shot and killed.

The prosecutors' office stressed Friday that questioning family members is routine in such cases, as investigators seek to determine whether the gunman was acting alone, where he got his weapons and other details.

The Paris prosecutor's office leading the investigation of the Champs-Elysees gun attack says investigators found a pump-action shotgun and knives in the gunman's car.

Police quickly shot and killed the gunman after he opened fire on officers, killing one and injuring two others on Thursday night.

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The Paris prosecutor says the Champs-Elysees attacker had a note defending the Islamic State group with him when he opened fire on police officers. Anti-terrorism prosecutor Francois Molins said during a news conference Friday that the note apparently fell out of the...
EU, France, Paris Police Shot, Gunman
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2017-13-21
 

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