National Security

Paris Shooter Was Arrested For Allegedly Plotting A Police Attack In 2017

REUTERS/Benoit Tessier

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Russ Read Pentagon/Foreign Policy Reporter
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The Islamic State terrorist responsible for Thursday’s shooting in Paris was arrested earlier this year for allegedly plotting an attack on police.

Karim Cheurfi, also known as Abu Yusuf al-Beljiki, had recently been released from prison after serving a 15-year sentence for shooting police when he was arrested for allegedly plotting another attack. He was subsequently released for lack of evidence, according to Reuters.

Cheurfi first attacked police in 2001, when he shot and injured a policeman and the policeman’s brother after stealing a car and engaging in a chase. He was arrested two days later, and stole an officer’s firearm while in custody, shooting the officer three times. He again reportedly stole an officer’s weapon later, but was subsequently subdued.

Cheurfi’s assaults on police resulted in a 20-year sentence, which was later reduced to 15 years in 2005. It is unclear why Cheurfi’s sentence was reduced.

French officials were reportedly aware of Cheurfi’s extremist tendencies, including the DGSI, France’s domestic security service. It is unclear when exactly Cheurfi became an Islamic State adherent. The terrorist group’s Amaq news agency claimed him as a “fighter,” but it is unclear if he spent any time in the caliphate.

Cheurfi’s assumed name,”Al-Beljiki,” translates to “the Belgian,” but it is unknown if he spent any time in Belgium. It is common for ISIS fighters to assume a surname based on their home country.

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