A man who is currently under police custody for his role in the Friday terror attack says his attack was premeditated and aimed at the Charlie Hebdo magazine. The 18-year-old man of Pakistani origin linked his deliberate actions to the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad recently published by the French-based satirical magazine.
Charlie Hebdo, in commemoration of the 2015 attacks on the magazine by French-born militants, had published the cartoon images of the Islamic prophet recently. About 12 people, all staff of Charlie Hebdo, were killed in the attacks five years ago. The publications of the caricature had drawn threats and criticisms from Muslims in several countries before the threats were carried out by the militants. Court proceedings and trials into the attacks had commenced this month.
On Friday, the suspect who is yet to be named walked to the former office of the magazine, now owned by a TV production company, and attacked two staff of the company. He may have believed the place was still the offices of the magazine and that the staff of the TV production company worked for the magazine.
According to eye-witnesses, the suspect chased the victims with a meat cleaver and inflicted grievous bodily harm on them. The victims, a man, and a woman had simply stepped out of the office for a smoke break when the suspect pounced on them. The victims were quickly rushed to the hospital. They are in stable condition and responding to treatment, according to statements from the police.
A month before the Friday attack, the suspect had been arrested for carrying a screwdriver on him. The police had considered the screwdriver a weapon and promptly arrested him.
Further investigations into the suspect revealed that he arrived in France about three years ago, from Pakistan, as an accompanied minor. Further investigations into his identity are ongoing. However, preliminary findings showed that he wasn’t on the counterterrorism radar prior to this attack.
Besides the suspect, seven other people were detained by the police, including a former roommate of the suspect. However, one of them has been released when initial investigations showed that he had no link to the suspect or the attack.
While visiting the police headquarters on Saturday, the French prime minister was quick to adjudge the incident a terrorist attack, saying the enemies of the country had lost.
The French interior minister, on his part, said that indeed, security was sparse on the street where the Charlie Hebdo magazine was once headquartered. He promised to beef up security on all religious sites, especially as the Jewish Yom Kippur holiday commences. Following the 2015 attacks on Charlie Hebdo, there were a series of coordinated attacks on Jewish grocery stores.