Paris suspect in knife attack that killed one was French citizen born in Chechnya

Posted on: May 13th, 2018 by ABC News No Comments

ABC News(PARIS) — The suspect in a Paris knife attack that killed one and injured four others was a French citizen who was born in Chechnya in 1997.

The suspect, identified by authorities as Khamzat Azimov, was shot dead by police responding to the stabbing in central Paris just after 9 p.m. Saturday.

The attacker was heard shouting shouting “Allahu akbar” — Arabic for “God is great” — prior to the stabbing. ISIS later claimed he was a “soldier of the Islamic State.”

Azimov was born in Chechnya in 1997 and became a French citizen in 2010, authorities told ABC News.

The suspect’s parents and a friend were being questioned by French police on Sunday in Strasbourg, France, where the alleged assailant spent part of his teenage years, the Paris prosecutor’s office told ABC News.

Paris Prosecutor François Molins told reporters that the incident was being investigated to determine whether it was an act of terror.

“Based on testimony of eyewitnesses who said they heard the attacker saying ‘[Allahu] Akbar’ and because of the method of the attack it’s the anti-terror unit who is in charge of the investigation,” he said.

A French judicial source confirmed with ABC News that the alleged assailant was on the country’s database of radicalized people.

Hours after the incident the terrorist group ISIS claimed the killer as one of its “soldiers,” the SITE Intel group, which monitors terrorist messaging, said.

“The executor of the stabbing operation in the city of Paris is a soldier of the Islamic State and the operation was carried out in response to the calls to target the coalition states,” the SITE Intel group reported the Amaq Agency, ISIS’s media wing, as having said.

According to SITE, the designation of a “soldier of the Islamic State” generally refers to an ISIS-inspired attack, as opposed to one directly coordinated by the terror group.

Pierre Gaudin, the Paris Police Prefecture director, said five people were assaulted. The attack happened just after 9 p.m. in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris, rue Monsigny, he said.

The alleged assailant was shot by the police and was pronounced dead. Police said the attacker was “neutralized” within nine minutes of the first emergency call.

“The police intervened immediately and the individual died,” he said.

The suspect was born in Chechnya in 1997 and had no previous arrests, according to The Associated Press. The AP reported the attacker’s parents are in custody as well.

French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb tweeted a photo of himself meeting with first responders to the attack, saying in French, “They watch for the fatherland.”

In addition to the person who died, two others were seriously injured and were transferred to George Pompidou Hospital, he added. Two other victims sustained minor injuries. Collomb told reporters early Sunday that all of the victims were expected to recover.

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