World News

Man on Terror Watch List Kills Relatives Near Paris, Police Say

Posted August 23, 2018 2:57 p.m. EDT
Updated August 23, 2018 2:59 p.m. EDT

PARIS — A man on a terrorism watch list fatally stabbed his mother and sister, and seriously wounded another person, in a Paris suburb Thursday, before police shot him to death, authorities said.

As of Thursday night, officials said they believed that the killing was related to family issues, which Frédéric de Lanouvelle, a spokesman for the Interior Ministry, described as “pretty tense.” De Lanouvelle, speaking on BFM television, did not identify the assailant but said he was 36.

The Amaq News Agency, which is linked to the Islamic State group, said the group had claimed responsibility for the knife attack. The claim was made in language indicating that the attacker was inspired by the group’s ideology, rather than being a core member of it.

But Interior Minister Gérard Collomb said the assailant was “more someone unstable rather than someone who would be following the instructions of terrorist organizations.” He described the attacker as having “important psychiatric problems.”

The attack took place in a residential area of Trappes, a working-class and ethnically diverse suburb southwest of Paris.

The attacker killed his sister and wounded another person, who was not a relative, on the street where his mother lived, and then entered his mother’s house and killed her there, the minister said.

Collomb praised the response of police, who were alerted at 9:30 a.m., and called the attack a “tragedy.”

Trappes, which has a reputation for insecurity and violence, has been plagued by unemployment — 20 percent, more than twice the national average. It has a large Muslim population, and it has produced soccer player Nicolas Anelka and popular comedian Omar Sy.

There have not been any large-scale attacks in France this year, but terrorism-related knife attacks have become more frequent. In May, a 20-year-old man stabbed five passers-by, one fatally, in a crowded Parisian neighborhood before he was killed by police.

In October, an assailant stabbed two women to death in front of the St.-Charles train station in Marseille.

A bulletin from the Amaq News Agency, released on the messaging app Telegram, described the attacker in Trappes as a “fighter of the Islamic State,” but added that he “carried out the attack in response to appeals to target citizens of Coalition countries.”

The phrasing of the bulletin is lifted from a famous speech by a former spokesman for the group, encouraging followers around the world to kill “infidels.” Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, the leader of the Islamic State group, repeated the message in an audio recording of a speech released Wednesday, his first in almost a year.