The Tunisian migrant who killed three people at a church in Nice and the Chechen refugee who beheaded a schoolteacher less than two weeks prior are linked, officials say, according to Reuters.
Prosecutors in France say that Brahim Aouissaoui, who is alleged to have carried out the attack in Nice in late October, had photos of Abdoullakh Anzorov on his phone, Reuters reported.
Anzorov decapitated Samuel Paty in what President Emmanuel Macron has called an “Islamist attack.” Paty, who taught civics, was reportedly targeted after showing students the caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, published by the Charlie Hebdo satire magazine in 2015, during a lesson on freedom of speech.
Anti-terrorist prosecutors said that an investigation of al-Aouissaoui’s cell phone also revealed images linked to ISIS, according to a media statement, Reuters reported. There were not specifics about what the images were or how they were linked to the terror group.
French police shot and killed Anzorov. Aouissaoui was also shot by police in the separate attack in Nice, which occurred nearly two weeks after the killing of Paty. He was last reported to be in critical condition.(RELATED: France Terror Suspect Had Arrived In Europe From Tunisia On Migrant Boat 1 Month Prior To Killings, Official Says)
Three teenagers were indicted on Nov. 6 in the murder of Paty, after being suspected of having been in contact with Anzorov. Ten people have been charged in the case, including two teenagers accused of pointing Paty out to Anzorov, according to Yahoo.
The link could indicate a common motive behind the two attacks, Reuters reported. Until the discovery of the cell phone evidence, the only connection between the two attacks was the method used for the killings. Both attackers used a large knife to behead their victims.
The French government has targeted “radical Islamism” in the country by cracking down on foreign financing of mosques and private religious schools, and investigated 51 French Muslim organizations following the death of Paty.
Macron also called for Europe to re-think its Schengen Area open-border system in November after the recent Islamic terror attacks across the continent.
He said that many of the criminal enterprises who frequently traffic migrants into Europe are linked to terrorist organizations, Reuters reported. “I am in favor of a deep overhaul of Schengen to re-think its organization and to strengthen our common border security with a proper border force,” the French leader said while visiting his country’s border with Spain.
A gunman who had previously gone to prison for trying to join ISIS killed multiple people in Vienna, Austria on Nov. 2. Kujtim Fejzulai, 20, was shot dead by police after the beginning of the attack that left four dead and 14 injured. Security services had been monitoring Fejzulai for posting extremist content on the internet before and after serving his terrorism sentence, and believed he was possibly linked to a radical Islamist network that extended to Switzerland and another unidentified country.