PARIS, Oct 2 — French investigators probing a knife attack in Marseille at the weekend have not found any link so far between the assailant and the Islamic State group, a source close to the case told AFP.
IS’s Amaq propaganda agency claimed late yesterday that the killer of two women at the main train station in the port city was “from the soldiers of the Islamic State”.
“The claim by IS raises questions because there’s nothing to link the assailant to Islamic State at this stage,” the source told AFP on condition of anonymity.
Top anti-terror prosecutor Francois Molins also gave new details about the attacker at a press conference in Paris, saying he had been arrested last week for shoplifting in the western city of Lyon.
The man presented a Tunisian passport showing his age as 29, but security forces are still unsure of his true identity because he had been found in police files under seven different aliases since 2005.
Named as Ahmed H. by Molins, who did not disclose his full surname, the killer told police in Lyon last week that he was a user of “hard drugs” and had no fixed address.
Molins confirmed that witnesses had heard him shout “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest) at the start of his attack which saw him stab the women using a 20-centimetre blade before rushing towards soldiers there.
He was shot twice by the soldiers from the special anti-terror force Sentinelle which was set up in 2015 to guard vulnerable sites in France.
The shoplifting charges were dropped against the man for lack of evidence, and local authorities “were not able to take a decision to deport him,” Molins added. — AFP