Paris prosecutor Jean-François Ricard gives a press conference at the Paris courthouse, France, Saturday Oct. 5, 2019. French prosecutors opened an investigation Friday that treats the fatal knife attack that a civilian employee carried out at Paris police headquarters as a potential act of terrorism. The longtime police employee stabbed four colleagues to death Thursday before he was shot and killed. (AP Photo/Rafael Yaghobzadeh)

Paris prosecutor: attacker had 'likely' links with Salafists

October 05, 2019 - 10:30 am

PARIS (AP) — The perpetrator of a deadly knife attack at a Paris police headquarters was likely in contact with members of an ultra-conservative reform movement of Islam, the Paris prosecutor said Saturday.

In a press conference, Jean-Francois Ricard said the civilian employee, who killed four of his colleagues Thursday, "had likely contacts with members of the Salafist movement."

He didn't elaborate further on his claim.

He revealed fresh details about the fatal ordeal, one day after French prosecutors opened an investigation into the attack, which they indicated could be terror-related.

Ricard said the autopsies "attest to a scene of extreme violence" in an attack that lasted seven minutes, adding that two knives used had been purchased by the killer — including a knife for preparing oysters.

Ricard said that while the knifeman had no prior convictions, he had been accused of domestic violence a decade ago.

The wife of the knifeman, who was killed by police, is in custody until Monday at the latest. Ricard said she exchanged 33 text messages with her husband about Islam in the hours leading up to the attack.

Authorities said the unnamed attacker had worked for the Paris police force since 2003, didn't have a history of psychiatric problems, and converted to Islam 18 months ago.

It took some 24 hours for authorities to say the attack was a potential act of terrorism, and on Friday morning the French government was still maintaining there was nothing to suggest the armed attacker had any ties to extremist groups.

French opposition lawmakers from the Republicans and the far-right National Assembly party are accusing Macron's government of bungling the case and are calling for a parliamentary inquiry.

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