Earlier today a Tunisian “youth” stabbed a policewoman to death inside a police headquarters in the French town of Rambouillet before being shot dead by another officer. The report below doesn’t mention it, but according to other accounts she was stabbed in the neck. I will cast terror into the hearts of those who have disbelieved, so strike them over the necks, and smite over all their fingers and toes. (Koran 8:12)
Police say the assailant’s motive remains unknown.
Knife attack in Rambouillet: Police officer killed, National Anti-Terrorist Prosecutor takes over
The assailant, whose motivations are not known, was shot down by another police officer. The prime minister and the interior minister arrived at the scene of the drama in the afternoon.
Le Monde with AFP (Agence France Presse)
April 23, 2021
[Photo caption: Police block a street in the area near the Rambouillet police headquarters, where a police officer was stabbed to death Friday, 23 April. Bertrand Guay/AFP]
A man stabbed a 49-year-old police officer to death at the police headquarters in Rambouillet, in the Yvelines [Île-de-France region], on Friday April 23 before being shot down by another officer, as announced by the prosecutor of Versailles.
According to a police source, the events occurred around 2:20pm in the security area of the police headquarters of this town of about 26,000 residents, located about 60 kilometers southwest of Paris. The administrative officer died of cardiac arrest at the scene despite the efforts of emergency responders.
According to the initial reports of eyewitnesses at the scene, the attacker, a man of Tunisian nationality, with legal [immigration] status, had reportedly appeared making several passes in front of the police station, his phone in hand. He then reportedly took advantage of the entrance of the victim into the double door security area of the police station to rush after her and wait till the door closed again, thus locking the electronic control device of the entrance.
The individual then reportedly brandished a knife before the eyes of the officers stationed at the reception area of the station, on the other side of the security glass of the secure entrance, before stabbing the administration officer. After unlocking the security door, one of the officers opened fire twice at the assailant. He died after being hit by the two shots from the officer. “For now, it is impossible to know his motivations,” added a police source.
“Some witnesses claim to have heard the attacker shout, ‘Allahu Akhbar!’ twice inside the security area, but they were on the street, several meters from the entrance,” a source at the scene also explained.
The National Terrorist Prosecutor’s Office (PNAT) has gathered the facts and opened an investigation into the murder of a public official in relation to terrorist activity and terrorist association, assigned jointly to the DCPJ (Central Directorate of Judicial Police) and the DGSI (General Directorate of Internal Security).
At the scene Jean-François Ricard, head of the National Anti-Terrorist Prosecutor’s Office, subsequently explained that he has taken up this case for “the course of events — which include the elements of identity — the modality of the crime, the person (victim), but also the remarks made by the perpetrator at the time of the incident.”
With the investigations just beginning, the investigative services as yet have little information to establish the motivation of the assailant, who is unknown to the specialized services. If the PNAT has become involved, less than three hours after the incident, it is due to a series of recurring elements in terrorist attacks committed in recent years.
First among them is the modus operandi: A knife attack. Then come other elements tending to support the terrorist hypothesis: The target (the police), the day (Friday, the holy day of Muslims, often chosen for terrorist attacks), as well as the reports, not confirmed at this stage, of witnesses, claiming to have heard the attacker cry “Allahu Akhbar!” The taking over by the National Terrorist Prosecutor’s Office especially allows the specialized services to rapidly deploy their particular methods of investigation, particularly in the analysis of IT tools used by the perpetrator of the attack.
The victim, age 49, “had worked for 20 years at the police headquarters of Rambouillet,” according to a police source. At the moment of the attack, she had just been away to renew her parking disk.
“France will never surrender in the face of Islamic terrorism,” reacted Emmanuel Macron.
[Photo caption: Jean Castex and Gerald Darmanin at a brief press conference at the Rambouillet police headquarters. Friday, April 23.]
Minister of the Interior Gerald Darmanin and Prime Minister Jean Castex arrived at the scene of the drama around 4:30pm. On Twitter the Prime Minister paid homage to “an everyday heroine,” assuring the support of the nation to her relatives.
After a brief statement in front of the cameras, Jean Castex repeated, “to all French people,” that his determination “to fight against terrorism in all its forms was intact”. He recalled that the department of Yvelines had already been hit by attacks against officials, reviving memories of the “odious attack of Magnanville in 2016 and more recently the murder of Samuel Paty.”
The President of the Republic himself also paid homage on Twitter to the policewoman, affirming that “the nation is at the side of her family, her colleagues, and the police.” Though the motivations of the assailant remain unknown, Emmanuel Macron affirmed that the government will never surrender “in the face of Islamic terrorism.”
The president of the Ile-de-France region, Valerie Pecresse, also arrived at the scene to condemn the attack. “They wanted to strike a symbol of France — because the police are the face of France — and destabilize the country in this quiet town,” she declared.
At the end of the day, Gerald Darmanin asked the prefects to “reinforce vigilance and security measures in and around the police stations and Gendarmerie brigades, particularly in regard to the entrances.”
“The horror once again, which targets and strikes the police,” reacted the police union, Alliance, on Twitter. On October 3, 2019, inside the enclosure of the Paris Police Prefecture, a radicalized employee stabbed three officers to death with a knife and an administrative officer before being killed.