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Man in fake suicide vest shot dead as he attacked Paris police station one year on from massacre

By AP Reporters

Published 08/01/2016

Armed police near the Boulevard de Barbes in Paris
Armed police near the Boulevard de Barbes in Paris
The body of the man shot dead as he attacked a police station

A man carrying a butcher's knife and wearing a fake suicide vest has been shot dead by police almost a year to the minute after the Charlie Hebdo massacre.

The suspected Islamic extremist was killed yesterday after he tried to attack a police station in the north of Paris.

A piece of paper bearing the emblem of Islamic State (IS) and "an unequivocal written claim of responsibility" was found on his body afterwards, officials said.

The attacker is believed to have shouted "Allahu akbar" - Arabic for "God is great" - while threatening officers at the entrance of a police station near the Montmartre neighbourhood, home to the Sacre Coeur Cathedral.

The attacker has not been identified, and Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said that police did not believe anyone else was involved.

Alexis Mukenge, who saw the shooting from inside another building, told local media that police told the man, "Stop, move back", adding that officers fired twice and the attacker immediately dropped to the ground.

The Goutte d'Or neighbourhood in Paris' 18th arrondissement was briefly locked down and two metro lines running in the area were halted. They reopened after two hours.

Two schools were also closed down as police cleared out hundreds of people in the area, and shops were shut. Nora Borrias was unable to get to her home in the neighbourhood because of the barricades. Shaken by the incident, she said: "It's like Charlie Hebdo isn't over".

Moments before the attack, French President Francois Hollande, speaking in a different area, paid respects to officers who had fallen in the line of duty, saying they died for freedom, and warning that a "terrorist threat" would continue to weigh on France.

Mr Hollande also called for better surveillance of "radicalised" citizens who return to France after joining IS or other extremist groups in Syria and Iraq.

"We must be able to force these people - and only these people - to fulfil certain obligations and if necessary to put them under house arrest because they are dangerous," he said.

France has been under a state of emergency since a series of attacks claimed by IS killed 130 people in Paris on November 13. Tensions increased this week as the anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo attack approached.

Soldiers were posted in front of schools and security forces were more visible than usual amid a series of tributes to the dead.

Following the attacks, the government announced it planned to give police better equipment and hire more intelligence agents.

But the moves failed to prevent the second attack on a concert venue and bars and restaurants across the French capital.

Those caught up in the Charlie Hebdo attacks yesterday continued to speak out. Laurent Sourisseau, the magazine's editor-in-chief, said, "security is a new expense for our budget".

"This past year we've had to invest nearly two million euros to secure our office, which is an enormous sum," he added.

"We have to spend hundreds of thousands on surveillance of our offices, which wasn't previously in Charlie's budget, but we had an obligation so that employees feel safe and can work safely."

After the attacks, people around the world embraced the expression "Je suis Charlie" to express solidarity with the slain journalists, targeted for caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.

"It's a phrase that was used during the march as a sign of emotion or resistance to terrorism," Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Corinne Rey said. "But little by little, I realised that 'I am Charlie' was misused for so many things. And now I don't really know what it means."

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