French authorities opened a terrorism investigation and detained three people after a police official was stabbed to death inside a police station outside Paris. Officers shot and killed the attacker at the scene Friday, authorities said.
FOX 56 (h/t Linda R) French media reports identified the attacker as a 37-year-old Muslim resident with no criminal record or record of radicalization. A French judicial official said the suspect was born in Tunisia and that witnesses heard him say “Allahu akbar,” Arabic for “God is great,” during the attack. The judicial official was not authorized to be publicly named speaking about an ongoing investigation.
Police searched the attacker’s home, also in Rambouillet, and detained three people in his entourage, according to the official.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex rushed to the scene with other officials and pledged the government’s “determination to fight terrorism in all its forms.” Islamic extremists and others have carried out multiple terror attacks in France recent years, including several targeting police.
The official killed Friday was a 49-year-old administrative employee who worked for the national police service, a national police spokesperson told The Associated Press. Police only released her first name, Stephanie.
She had left the station briefly to extend the time on her parking space, and was attacked in the entry passage as she returned, said Valerie Pecresse, president of the Paris region.
“There is a sort of well-known signature on this attack, an attack by a Muslim with a knife, on the throat, against a woman police officer in a police building,” Francois Bersani, a police union official at the scene, told The AP.
The prime minister noted that the surrounding Yvelines region has seen two particularly brutal Islamic extremist attacks on public servants in recent years: last year’s beheading of a teacher by a Chechen extremist, and the 2016 fatal stabbing of a police couple in their home by a Frenchman who claimed allegiance to the Islamic State group.
Speaking of Tunisian Muslims in France, in October, a Tunisian man armed with a knife attacked worshippers in Notre Dome Church at Nice, killing three.