Paris Attacker Is Chechnya-Born French Citizen Known To Authorities

Will Racke | Immigration and Foreign Policy Reporter

The man who went on a stabbing rampage in central Paris on Saturday night is a Chechnya-born French citizen whose radical views were known to authorities, French officials said.

Investigators are looking into the attack, which left one person dead and four others wounded, as an act of terrorism.

The suspect is a 20-year-old man who was born in 1997 in Chechnya, the Muslim-dominated Russian republic, reports France24 News, citing judicial sources. Although he did not have a criminal record, the man was on France’s so-called “S file” of people suspected of radicalized views who pose a terrorism risk, the sources said.

The attacker’s name has not been released to the public.

Saturday’s attack occurred near Paris’ main opera house, in a lively neighborhood full of bars, restaurants and party-goers. It was the latest in a string of Islamist terror attacks in France that have killed more than 200 people since 2015.

The attacker shouted “Allahu akbar” — “God is greatest” in Arabic — as he stabbed several bystanders with a knife, French prosecutors said, citing witnesses to the attack. Police reportedly tried to subdue the suspect with a Taser but were forced shoot and kill him when the non-lethal option failed.

Hours later, the Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack, calling the perpetrator a “soldier of the Islamic State” who had responded to the group’s call to attack countries that were bombing its fighters in Iraq and Syria. (RELATED: French Gov’t Has Paid Out Nearly $600,000 To ISIS Fighters In Syria)

It was not immediately clear when the attacker moved to France from Chechnya. His parents have been detained for questioning, reports Agence France-Presse, citing police sources.

France has been on high alert in recent years due to a string of Islamist terror attacks, including two with an extraordinarily high number of casualties: the November 2015 attacks that killed 130 in Paris, and the 2016 Bastille Day truck attack in Nice that killed more than 80.

There have also been several less deadly attacks carried out by lone wolf jihadists, most of which were claimed by ISIS and carried out in the group’s name.

A 29-year-old French man was killed in Saturday’s attack, authorities said. A 34-year-old man from Luxembourg and 54-year-old French woman were seriously injured. A 26-year-old woman and a 31-year-old man were slightly wounded.

All four of the wounded are “out of danger,” French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb told reporters.

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