Suspect in a deadly knife attack in Paris has roots in Chechnya

May 13, 2018

PARIS (TNS): The suspect in a deadly knife attack in central Paris was born in the Russian republic of Chechnya in 1997, sources say.

Named by French media as Khamzat Asimov, he was on a French watch list of people who could pose a threat to national security, the sources said.

Police shot dead the attacker in the busy Opéra district after he killed a man and injured four other people.

The Islamic State (IS) group said it was behind the attack.

French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted (in French): “France has once again paid in blood, but will not give an inch to the enemies of freedom.”

France has been on high alert following a series of attacks. More than 230 people have been killed by IS-inspired jihadists in the past three years.

The suspect was not carrying any identification papers and has not yet been officially named.

Sources told French media the man had no criminal record and his parents had been held for questioning. He is believed to be a French citizen but investigators have not yet said when he arrived in France.

The man had been categorised as “fiche S”, the sources said.

This flags people considered to be a possible threat to national security and allows for surveillance without being a cause for arrest.

It includes those suspected of Islamist radicalisation but is wide-ranging and covers such groups as political extremists, gangsters and even football hooligans.

In 2015, then Prime Minister Manuel Valls said there were 20,000 names on the list, about half related to Islamist radicalisation.

This would be the first time an assailant of Chechen origin has carried out a terrorist attack in France.

France is home to some 30,000 people of Chechen origin.