French President Francois Hollande on Tuesday called the killing of a policeman and his partner by a man claiming allegiance to Islamic State (IS) a “terrorist act” and warned France still faced a serious threat.
The attack is the first deadly strike in France since the coordinated attacks on Paris by an Islamic State cell in November in which 130 people were killed.
Hollande said the 42-year-old policeman and his partner, who were attacked at their home northwest of Paris overnight, were “murdered in cowardly fashion”.
“It’s unquestionably a terrorist act,” Hollande said, stressing that France, which is currently hosting the Euro 2016 football championships was still “facing a very significant terrorist threat”.
Sources close to the investigation identified the suspect, who was killed in a police raid, as Larossi Abballa and said he was convicted in 2013 over his role in a jihadist group with links to Pakistan.
The sources later confirmed that the 25-year-old assailant was also part of a more recent investigation into a network recruiting jihadists for the fight in Syria.
During failed negotiations with police that ended with elite RAID officers storming the house, the attacker claimed he was also acting on behalf of IS.
He repeatedly stabbed the policeman and then killed his partner, who was found with knife wounds to her neck.
The couple’s three-year-old son was found after the police operation, “in shock but unharmed,” a prosecutor added.