Paris police have shot dead a man allegedly wielding a knife who tried to enter a police station shouting “Allahu Akbar” — “God is great” — and wearing a fake suicide belt.
A piece of paper with a flag of the self-proclaimed Islamic State, or IS, and the man’s claim for the attack in Arabic was found on his body.
The incident took place on the anniversary of the fatal attacks at the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Brianna Roberts reports.
Police say the man tried to force entry into the police station in Paris’s 18th arrondisement, a district IS claimed it had planned to hit in deadly attacks in the city in November.
Officials have named the gunman as a convicted thief, Moroccan-born Sallah Ali.
A woman named Reeka Polonyi says she witnessed the incident.
“I looked out the window when I heard shouts. I saw two policemen shouting at a man who was advancing towards them quite fast. And when the man didn’t stop, they started shooting.”
Another witness says the man was warned twice before being shot.
(Translated)”They told him to get back, and he did, but then he stepped towards them again. They warned him once more, he lifted his arms, and they shot him three times.”
The incident came only minutes after President Francois Hollande had given a speech to mark the anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo attacks.
In his speech, the French leader emphasised the impact he says terrorism has had on France.
(Translated)”We are now facing hardened fighters who have decided to kill even at the cost of their own lives. Their attacks are coordinated from abroad, ordered by the organisation called Islamic State. That is why I say that we are at war.”
It has been one year since gunmen murdered 17 people in attacks centred around the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket.
France is also still reeling from attacks in November, including at the Bataclan concert hall, that killed 130 people.
One Paris citizen, Pascale Foucault, says the French people have made adjustments due to the terrorist threats and have become more vigilant.
(Translated) “The attack and those gunshots left deep traces. We should commemorate the victims of the attack, because we should never forget it. The attack was so brutal and difficult for people to accept.”
President Hollande says more than 25 crimes connected with terrorism activities have been uncovered.
A three-month state of emergency was imposed on November 13.