A French assailant has recorded a video of an attack in which two police officials died, authorities said, as France’s leadership reeled from what the president called a new “terrorist attack”.
The Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant’s (ISIL) Amaq news agency cited an unnamed source as saying an ISIL fighter carried out the late-night attack in the Paris suburb of Magnanville on Monday.
Two police officials, a man and woman who lived together, were killed. The attacker, identified as 25-year-old Larossi Abballa, was also killed, while the couple’s three-year-old child survived.
French President Francois Hollande held an emergency security meeting on Tuesday about what he said was “incontestably a terrorist act”.
He said France was facing a threat “of a very large scale”.
“France is not the only country concerned [by the terrorist threat], as we have seen, again, in the United States, in Orlando,” he said.
France has been on particularly high alert as it hosts Europe’s top sporting event, the month-long European Championship football tournament, and is still under a state of emergency after the November attacks.
Prime Minister Manuel Valls said: “It’s a global threat. That is why we are fighting terrorism in Syria and Iraq, and on our soil.”
Abballa was from the western Paris suburb of Mantes-la-Jolie and was sentenced in 2013 to three years in prison, including six months suspended, for recruiting fighters for jihad in Pakistan, according to two police officials.
|Larossi Abballa [Facebook/Al Jazeera]|
The officials cannot be named as they were not authorised to discuss the ongoing investigations.
‘Video posted online’
Two other security officials said Abballa recorded a video during the knife attack. One official said the assailant posted the video on Facebook Live, the social media site’s live feed.
A Facebook profile bearing the name Larossi Abballa – which vanished from the internet early on Tuesday – showed a photo of smiling man believed to be Abballa.
The last post publicly available was a mock-up of the European Championship logo highlighting the poster’s purported masonic and occult symbols.
“Some will say we see evil everywhere!” Abballa said in a message posted about 18 hours before the attack.
One police official said at one point in the video, the assailant appeared puzzled over what to do with the couple’s child.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said more than 100 people seen as potential threats have been arrested in France this year, including in recent weeks.
Cazeneuve visited the police station where one of the victims, 42-year-old Jean-Baptiste Salvaing, worked.
The knife-wielding attacker stabbed Salvaing on Monday night outside his home in Magnanville, about 55km west of Paris, then went into the house.
Elite police commandos laid siege to the residence, eventually storming it after a three-hour standoff.