Killer of 2 French police officers was previously sentenced on terrorism-related charges – report

Still image taken from video shows Police vehicles at the scene near where a French police commander was stabbed to death in front of his home in the Paris suburb of Magnanville, France, June 14, 2016. © Reuters TV
The killing of a police officer and his partner in the town of Magnanville, 50km from Paris, on Monday evening was “a terrorist attack,” French government said. Earlier media reports suggested that the attacker was sentenced on terrorism-related charges in 2013.

Forty-two year-old police officer Jean-Baptiste Salvaing was stabbed at least nine times, and his partner was also killed. The attacker was identified by the media as 25-year-old Larossi Abballa.

“I am thinking of those who knew these two police officers and this child found by RAID [an elite police unit] after the assault,” French government spokesman Stéphane Le Foll said, as cited by RTL radio. He added that the incident was “a great tragedy.”

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve described the Magnanville killings as an “abject act of terrorism.” He was speaking after an emergency meeting with French President Francois Hollande and Justice Minister Jean-Jacques Urvoas.

France is facing a “very large scale” terror threat, President Hollande said Tuesday morning at a meeting of the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) in Paris.
“France is not the only country concerned [by the terrorist threat], as we have seen, again, in the United States, in Orlando,” he said.

READ MORE: Magnanville attack: ISIS claims link to Paris suburb stabber who killed police officer & his partner

The attacker, reportedly the officer’s neighbor, shouted “Allah u Akbar,” Le Parisien cited witnesses as saying.

The couple’s son, who was also taken hostage by the suspect, was rescued by RAID.

Unconfirmed reports have emerged suggesting that the attacker might have links to Islamic State (IS, ISIS/ISIL). Islamic State's Amaq news agency cited its source as saying that the assailant was a member of their group.

BFMTV cited unconfirmed reports on social media that claimed that the assailant filmed the attack live on Facebook. The video and as well as the Facebook page it was posted on, alleged to belong to Abballa, were soon deleted, the channel added.

Later French officials confirmed to AP that the assailant made a video of his attack.

Assailant who stabbed a French police officer and his partner late Monday has been identified as 25-year-old French citizen Larossi Abballa, BMF TV reported. The man was reportedly accused of recruiting would-be jihadists in France for carrying out attacks in Pakistan.

Abballa was allegedly a resident of the town of Mantes-la-Jolie about 50km north from Paris.

BFMTV claimed that Abballa opened a restaurant in the town in 2015. Both victims of the attack were previously stationed in Mantes-la-Jolie where the suspect lived, the channel added, citing its sources.

According to the channel, Abballa was previously known to French authorities for theft, violence and radicalization. 

The suspect was sentenced on terrorism charges in 2013. The report at the time in Le Figaro newspaper mentions a certain Larossi Abballa, 22, who was convicted along with seven jihadists. They were sentenced for “conspiracy to prepare terrorist acts”, recruiting would-be jihadists in France, physical and ideological training in Pakistan and sending young volunteers to armed jihad, according to the paper. 

Le Figaro then reported that Abballa was sentenced to three years in prison, and also received a six-month suspended sentence and probation for two years. It is not yet clear how long he eventually spent in prison.

Abbala was convicted on terrorism charges for extremist activity in Pakistan in 2013, AP reported, citing police sources.