Man in Fake Explosives Vest Killed in Paris

Man in Fake Explosives Vest Killed in ParisMan in Fake Explosives Vest Killed in Paris

A man wearing a fake explosives vest and wielding a butcher knife was shot to death by police outside a Paris police station on Thursday, jolting an already anxious French capital with a new dose of fear as the nation grimly marked a year of terror that started with the newsroom massacre at the Charlie Hebdo satirical newspaper.

The assailant, who shouted “God is great!”, as he waved the knife at officers, was carrying a document with an emblem of the self-styled Islamic State terrorist group and “an unequivocal claim of responsibility in Arabic”, the prosecutor’s office said.

The extremist group claimed the Jan. 7, 2015, attack at Charlie Hebdo and on a kosher grocery store three days later that killed 17 people. IS also claimed the Nov. 13 attacks on Paris cafes, restaurants, a sports stadium and a music hall that killed 130 people, AP reported.

Thursday’s attempted attack shortly before noon in Paris’ multi-ethnic Goutte d’Or neighborhood came almost one year to the minute after two extremists burst into the offices of Charlie Hebdo, killing 11 people.

Just moments earlier, President Francois Hollande had paid respects to fallen security forces—three of whom were killed last year in terrorist violence—saluting their valor in protecting “this way of life, the one that terrorists want to attack.”

Scores of police descended Thursday on the northern neighborhood that was the site of the attempted attack, blocking it off to pedestrians and ordering shops to close. Metro stations in the area, which is not far from the Montmartre district, were closed and buses halted.

Video shot from a window above the station and provided to AP showed the suspect’s body lying on the ground in a pool of blood as a sniffer dog was called in to check the body, along with a bomb-detecting robot. More video aired later on iTele TV showed a police explosives specialist cutting open the dead man’s jacket to check for live explosives.

Authorities did not publicly identify the suspect. However, a French security official said police were “working on the hypothesis” that the assailant is a 20-year-old Moroccan who was involved in a minor 2013 robbery in the southern Var region.

The official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, said that while the fingerprints of the dead attacker matched those of the robbery suspect, who identified himself at the time as Ali Sallah of Casablanca, the assailant in Thursday’s attack appeared older than 20.

He said Sallah, who had been in France illegally, was ordered to leave the country after the 2013 incident. Investigators were trying to determine if and when the man had returned to Paris.