Paris police shot dead a knife-wielding man who tried to enter a police station shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is Great) and who was wearing what appeared to be a suicide belt, official and union sources said.
The incident took place just minutes after President Francois Hollande had given a speech to security forces in an another part of Paris to mark the first anniversary of last year’s deadly Islamist militant attacks on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in the French capital.
“The man may have been wearing something that could be a suicide belt,” Interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet told BFM TV. “Whether it was operational or not, it is too early to say.”
One of the police union sources said the belt appeared to be fake.
The man had tried to force entry into the police station in the 18th district of northern Paris, an area that Islamic State had said after even deadlier Paris attacks in November that it had been planning to hit.
“According to our colleagues he wanted to blow himself up,” an official at the Alternative Police union said. “He shouted Allahu Akbar and had wires protruding from his clothes. That’s why the police officer opened fire.”
Officials said bomb disposal experts were on site.
Journalist Anna Polonyi, who could see the body on the pavement from the window of her flat, posted photos on social media that showed the body with what appeared to be a bomb-disposal robot beside it.
She told Reuters that her sister, in the flat with her, saw the incident happen. She said the police shouted at the man and that he then started running towards them before they shot him.