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Terror probe opened after four killed in attack at Paris police HQ

A technology administrator in the police intelligence unit killed three officers and an administrator.

(AP Photo/Michel Euler)
(AP Photo/Michel Euler)

By Sylvie Corbet, Associated Press

French prosecutors have opened an investigation that treats a knife attack that left four dead at Paris police headquarters as a potential act of terrorism.

A long-time police employee stabbed four colleagues to death on Thursday before he was shot and killed.

A background search led to the investigation for murders committed “in relation with a terrorist enterprise” and “criminal association with terrorists,” the Paris prosecutors’ office said.

The office announced the decision in a two-line statement and provided no details about the evidence that persuaded prosecutors a terror investigation was warranted.

David Le Bars, head of the Union of National Police Commissioners, told French broadcaster BFM TV it came from easily accessible sources found in a search of the attacker’s home.

We've been hurt at the heart, but we are still standing. Paris police chief

“We knew that searching through his computer histories, the websites visited, his relations, we would quickly have some information,” Mr Le Bars said.

He called the suspicion the murders of three police officers and an administrator resulted from an extremist plot “a cataclysm” since the attacker worked for the police department. A fifth person was seriously injured.

The 45-year-old employee worked as a technology administrator in the Paris police intelligence unit. Investigators scoured the man’s computer and mobile phone on Friday for clues to his motive.

They also interviewed witnesses and his wife, who was taken into custody on Thursday.

The wife told police her husband, who was deaf, had visions and made incoherent statements during the night before the attack, BFM TV and France Info reported.

The French government said on Friday morning there was nothing to suggest the armed attacker had any ties to extremist groups.

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

At the news conference on Friday, Paris police chief Didier Lallement said the rookie officer who shot the killer completed police academy training six days before the attack.

Assigned to security duty at the large police compound across the street from Notre Dame Cathedral, the rookie ran into the courtyard to counter the attack and confronted the 45-year-old administrator.

The police force held a minute’s silence in the same courtyard on Friday morning.

“We’ve been hurt at the heart, but we are still standing,” the police chief said.

PA

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