Sun | Jan 20, 2019

Man in fake explosives vest killed amid high Paris tension

Published:Friday | January 8, 2016 | 12:00 AM
Police officers secure the perimeter near the scene of a fatal shooting which took place at a police station in Paris, yesterday. French officials say a man armed with a knife was shot to death by officers at a police station in northern Paris.


Police shot and killed a man wearing a fake explosives vest who threatened them with a butcher knife at a Paris police station yesterday, a year almost to the minute after two Islamic extremists burst into the offices of the satirical newspaper, Charlie Hebdo, killing 11 people and unleashing a bloody 12 months in the French capital.

The Paris prosecutor's anti-terrorism unit opened an investigation after police found a cell phone, a piece of paper with an emblem of the Islamic State group, and "an unequivocal written claim of responsibility in Arabic" with the man's body, the prosecutor's office said. It did not provide details about the claim.

France has been under a state of emergency since a series of attacks claimed by the Islamic State group killed 130 people in Paris on November 13, and tensions increased this week as the anniversary of the January attacks approached. Soldiers were posted in front of schools and security forces were more present than usual amid a series of tributes to the dead.

Officials said the man shot to death yesterday threatened officers at the entrance of a police station near the Montmartre neighbourhood, home to the Sacre Coeur Cathedral. Just moments before, French President Francois Hollande, speaking in a different location, paid respects to officers fallen in the line of duty.

The man at the police station is believed to have cried out "Allahu akbar", Arabic for "God is great". He has not been identified, and Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet told the Associated Press that police do not believe anyone else was involved.