Another ISIS warrior who “escaped” Police Surveillance in Paris
Knife in hand, a 20-year-old man, supposedly an ISIS terrorist, was able to escape police surveillance, again. According to French authorities, the alleged terrorist who killed a person this week was Chechen by birth.
Apparently, the alleged ISIS warrior was on the radar of the security forces for possible radicalization, though mysteriously, he managed to escape surveillance to commit the murder right in the heart of the French capital.
The attack, whose authorship was assumed by the Islamic State, is being investigated by the terrorist section of the Paris prosecutor’s office.
Despite the seriousness of two of the passersby injuries during the attack, their condition has improved.
Several media have unofficially identified the terrorist as Khamzat Azimov, a young man born in Chechnya, Russia, in November 1997, who obtained French nationality in 2010, the same year that his mother did.
The attacker had no judicial record. However, he was signed as radicalized.
According to french police, Azimov appeared in the “S” file of the intelligence services since 2016. The “S” files are lists of more than 10,000 people considered to be a danger to the State, although in many cases they have not yet committed any crime.
The file includes radical Islamists, people likely to have contacts with terrorist movements, violent football fans or members of ultra-left or ultra-right groups. It is not clear if those lists include political dissenters, journalists or anyone else who opposes government policies.
The newspaper Le Parisien states, citing sources close to the investigation, that Azimov had been included in the “S” file in Strasbourg, where he lived with his mother before moving to Paris, because he was around a group of Chechens who wanted to leave Syria.
The France Presse Agency for its part ensures that Azimov had also been included in the FSPRT, a file for the prevention of Islamist radicalization, although more “by his relations” than “by his own behavior, actions or positioning.”
A year ago, he was interrogated by the anti-terrorist services because he knew a man linked to a person who left for Syria. The attacker’s parents were placed in police custody on Sunday and were being interrogated.
The Paris prosecutor, François Molins, revealed last night that the attack was being treated as a terrorist act.
“On the basis of the testimonies that claim that the man shouted Allah Akbar (Allah is great) and in view of the modus operandi, we have commissioned the investigation to the anti-terrorist section of the Paris prosecutor’s office,” Molins explained from the place of attack, perpetrated shortly before nine o’clock at night.
For the time being, Molins explained, the charges are for “criminal terrorist association to prepare crimes against people,” in addition to “murder and attempted murder of persons depositaries of public authority for terrorist purposes.”
The authorship of the attack was celebrated by the Islamic State (ISIS). “The author of this knife attack in Paris is a soldier of the Islamic State,” said the propaganda agency of the terrorist organization, Amaq, quoted by the US center for the surveillance of Islamist sites.
There is no way to verify that ISIS actually issued such a statement, or whether Azimov was actually a member of the terrorist organization.
”The operation was carried out in retaliation against the states of the international anti-jihadist coalition in Iraq and Syria, reads the alleged statement.
The French president, Emmanuel Macron, described the aggressor as a “terrorist” and assured that the country will not give in to this threat that has cost the lives of 245 people since the wave of bombings in 2015.
“France pays once again the price of the blood, but does not give a whit to the enemies of freedom,” said Macron in a message on Twitter.
The Prime Minister, Édouard Philippe, also assured that “France is determined not to give in to the threats”. The country’s response to the terrorists will be “firm and clear,” he promised.
The Interior Minister, Gérard Collomb, called a meeting of the General Staff on Sunday to analyze the situation with security and anti-terrorist services.
After the meeting, Collomb pointed out that although terrorism remains a “serious threat”, it is at the same time “diffused” by the use of “not very sophisticated” methods such as a knife. “It is precisely this, he added, that makes it more complicated to prevent this type of attack.”
Collomb’s statement debunks traditional beliefs that a heavily surveilled nation can defeat terrorism, or that surveillance is a key factor in preventing terrorists from committing crimes. It also confirms that no amount of surveillance is enough to “protect us”, as governments usually state when advancing their policies to spy on citizens for the sake of “national security”.
The four people wounded by the aggressor continued to recover, including the person who last night was torn between life and death.
“The most seriously injured person is better, has been operated and has been saved,” Collomb declared at dawn from the Georges Pompidou hospital in Paris, where the two most seriously injured were transferred.
The victims are, according to AFP, a 34 year-old man and a 54 year-old woman. Another woman of 26 years of age and a 31 year old man sustained milder injuries.
The mortal victim was a 29-year-old man, according to the agency. “Once again, it is the youth of France who are attacked,” lamented Collomb in reference to the attacks on November 13, 2015 in the Bataclan concert hall and on several terraces and restaurants in Paris, which left 130 people dead.
Although France officially lifted the state of emergency in November, the entire country remains under constant terrorist threat mainly because of the French government’s refusal to allow immigrants who simply cannot adapt to western culture and many of whom indeed belong to terrorists groups.
France is one of three European nations whose citizens suffered constant violent attacks from immigrants. Those attacks range from rape of women and children to knife attacks against tourists and French citizens.
The last deadly attack took place in late March in Carcassonne and Trèbes, in the south of the country, when a man killed four people before being shot by police. One of those killed was a police officer who was exchanged for a hostage in the supermarket where the terrorist was entrenched.