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IS attacker who killed Paris cops had hit list, threatened strikes during Euro

A man who stabbed a police commander and police administrator to death at their home in a Paris suburb pledged loyalty to the leader of the Islamic State group and had a list of other targets, including rappers, journalists, police officers and public officials, the Paris prosecutor said Tuesday.

world Updated: Jun 14, 2016 19:17 IST
Paris attacks

A photo taken off Facebook shows an undated photo of French Larossi Abballa, 25.(AFP)

The suspect who killed two French police personnel posted a Facebook video from the scene of the murders calling for further strikes during the Euro 2016 championships, a jihadist expert said on Tuesday.

David Thomson, a terrorism expert at Radio France Internationale, said the video was posted using the Facebook Live application at 8:52pm (1852 GMT) on Monday. It has since been removed.

Larossi Abballa, the 25-year-old assailant, who knifed to death a police couple at their home near Paris had a “hit list” of VIPs, police and rappers, officials said.

In 13 minutes of footage shot at the home of his victims, Abballa, believed to have pledged allegiance to the Islamic State group three weeks ago, announced that he had killed a policeman and his wife, said Thomson, author of a book on young French radicals.

“I don’t know what to do with him,” Abballa says in the footage, indicating the couple’s three-year-old child sitting behind him on a couch.

French policemen escort neighbours returning to their house in the street of Magnanville where a man claiming allegiance to the Islamic State group killed a French policeman and his partner on the night of June 13. (AFP)

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Also, two of his recent posts featured videos critical of Israel and Saudi Arabia.

The assailant, who was killed in a police raid around three hours later, also posted pictures of the dead couple on the account, which was in the name of Mohamed Ali.

During the assault, he attacked the 42-year-old police officer, stabbing him repeatedly outside his home, before going inside and slitting the throat of his 36-year-old partner, who also worked at a police station.

Prosecutor Francois Molins said wiretap surveillance of Abballa had given no clue to the upcoming attack. He had been under surveillance since January as part of an investigation into a Syrian jihadi network.

Abballa was sentenced in September 2013 to two-and-a-half years in prison over his role in a jihadist group with links to Pakistan, but freed because of time already served awaiting trial.

Hit list

At the start of the video recording, the 25-year-old convicted radical swears allegiance to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

He then calls on other Muslims to attack “police, journalists, public figures, prison guards and rappers,” listing around a dozen well-known figures by name.

“We will turn the Euro into a graveyard,” he threatened, four days after the start of the football championships in a country on high alert after last November’s jihadist carnage in Paris.

Abballa asked his 160 Facebook followers, particularly his IS contacts, “to issue a statement claiming the attack”.

The IS-linked Amaq news agency later announced that an “Islamic State fighter” had killed a policeman and his wife near Paris with a knife.

Read: French prez Hollande condemns ‘cowardly’ terror attack on police

A man shakes hands with a French policeman to thank him as he returns to his house in a street of Magnanville where a man claiming allegiance to the Islamic State group killed a French policeman and his partner on the night of June 13. (AFP)

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A resident of the apartment building where Abballa lived, who did not want to give his name, said police raided it early on Tuesday.

Neighbourhood resident Henriette Yenge, who lives and works near the building, said she would say hello to Abballa when he went to the mosque around the corner.

“He was a neighbourhood kid,” she said. “I was surprised it was him. It’s sad to see things like that.”

France, like other countries in Europe, has seen a series of stabbings aimed at police officers or soldiers and carried out by Muslim radicals.

In Paris, the Eiffel Tower was lit up Monday night in the colours of a rainbow to honour victims of Saturday’s mass shooting at a gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, that killed at least 49 people. The gunman declared his allegiance to IS in phone calls to police, but his motives remain unclear.