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Paris Attack Suspect Wanted to Target Charlie Hebdo With Arson

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Paris Assault Suspect Wished to Goal Charlie Hebdo With Arson

PARIS — The person suspected of stabbing two folks exterior the previous Paris workplace of Charlie Hebdo final week admitted to investigators that he needed to set the constructing on fireplace, and he railed in opposition to cartoons of the prophet in a video discovered on his telephone, however he didn’t pledge allegiance to any identified terrorist group, French authorities stated on Tuesday.

Jean-François Ricard, the highest antiterrorism prosecutor, stated at a information convention that the video confirmed the suspect, Zaher Hassan Mahmood, 25, weeping and denouncing the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.

Mr. Ricard stated Mr. Mahmood had informed investigators that he had searched on-line for the tackle for Charlie Hebdo, the satirical newspaper whose workplace was attacked in January 2015, and scouted the realm, however had not realized that they moved. He had initially deliberate to set the previous newspaper’s places of work on fireplace, Mr. Ricard stated, including that the police discovered a number of bottles of turpentine in his bag.

However Mr. Mahmood modified his thoughts when he noticed two folks smoking exterior the constructing close to a mural paying tribute to these killed in 2015, Mr. Ricard stated. Pondering they have been workers of the newspaper, he lunged at them with a meat cleaver. The “extraordinarily violent” assault, caught on surveillance cameras, lasted solely 20 seconds, Mr. Ricard stated.

Final week’s assault, which got here throughout an ongoing trial for a number of folks linked to the January 2015 killings, introduced fears of terrorism again to the floor in France. Lately, the threats have developed — from large-scale, organized plots, just like the November 2015 assaults in Paris, through which greater than 100 have been killed, to remoted acts which are more durable to foretell and stop.

Mr. Ricard stated that Mr. Mahmood, who’s from Pakistan and who had by no means been flagged by French intelligence companies prior to now, had no prior convictions.

French authorities had beforehand recognized the person as an 18-year-old primarily based on statements he gave to the police, however on his telephone investigators discovered an image of his passport figuring out him as 25. Mr. Ricard declined to remark when requested if Pakistani authorities had confirmed Mr. Mahmood’s identification.

Mr. Mahmood was anticipated to be charged with tried homicide and felony conspiracy, each on aggravated counts of terrorism, Mr. Ricard stated.

9 folks related to Mr. Mahmood who have been taken into police custody after the assault have been launched with out prices. Investigators stated they supplied insights into his actions forward of the assault. These associates reported that Mr. Mahmood repeatedly watched movies that includes the founding father of Tehreek-e-Labbaik Pakistan, a hard-line Islamic group that organized a number of demonstrations in Pakistan earlier this month after Charlie Hebdo republished cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, investigators stated.

Mr. Ricard stated that Mr. Mahmood informed investigators he had seen movies of these protests.

One other man, an Algerian in his 30s, was additionally arrested shortly after the assault, however was later launched with out prices when it emerged that he was a witness to the assault who ran after Mr. Mahmood right into a prepare station to try to cease him.

In an interview with The Wall Road Journal on Monday, a person dwelling in Pakistan who recognized himself because the suspect’s father stated he was “proud” of his son.

“No matter he did is in his love for Prophet Muhammad,” the person, Arshad Mahmood, informed the newspaper. “I say no matter he did is correct.”

Mr. Mahmood, a farmer in a small village in central Pakistan, informed The Journal that his son, certainly one of seven kids, had traveled to France two years in the past with two brothers in the hunt for work.

Mr. Ricard stated that Mr. Mahmood had been taken into the care of French social companies beneath a false identification and had been posing as a minor named Hassan Ali since his arrival in France in the summertime of 2018. He was not a authorized resident, however he was scheduled to fulfill with the native authorities to assessment his standing on the day of the assault.

In April, two folks in southern France have been stabbed to demise in an assault the police blame on a suspect with no identified ties to a terror group.

Laurent Nuñez, the previous head of France’s home intelligence company, informed France Inter radio on Monday that large-scale assaults have been now simpler to intercept and that safety forces have been more and more encountering people who may be impressed by terrorist propaganda however are unaffiliated with any identified terrorist teams.

“Typically, they don’t have any contact with the Syria-Iraq area, so that they aren’t noticed in that regard,” stated Mr. Nuñez, who now coordinates France’s antiterrorism response. “It’s subsequently a lot more durable for intelligence companies to detect.”

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