Paris prosecutor: Suspect in killings pledged allegiance to ISIL – USA TODAY
A French police commander was stabbed to death while his partner and their young son were held hostage in their home outside Paris. The partner was also killed.
PARIS â The suspect in the killings of aÂ police commander and his partnerÂ in aÂ Paris suburb pledged allegiance to theÂ Islamic StateÂ and threatened to kill non-believers, the Paris prosecutor said.
FranÃ§oisÂ Molins told a news conference Tuesday that the suspect was respondingÂ to a communique by the militant group calling on followers to attack people in their homes.
The commander, 42, was stabbed to death outsideÂ his home in Magnanville, aboutÂ 35 milesÂ northwest of central Paris on Monday evening, officials said. He was dressed in plain clothes.
The attacker, identified as Larossi Abbala,Â 25, by local media and the Associated Press, entered the house and held the commanderâs partner and their 3-year-old son hostage,Â Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said, adding that the partner also worked for theÂ Interior Ministry.
President FranÃ§ois Hollande on Tuesday said the killings wereÂ âincontestably a terrorist act.” He saidÂ that France was facing a terror threat âof a very large scale.”
âFrance is not the only country concerned, as we have seen, again, in the United States, in Orlando,â HollandeÂ said.
Molins saidÂ the attacker posted a 12-minute video claiming responsibility for the killings on Facebook. He said he also posted two tweets during the evening. Three knives were seized including one covered in blood and a Koran was found in aÂ car near the scene, MolinsÂ said.
An elite police unit negotiated with the attacker who said he was a soldier for the Islamic State, also known as ISISÂ and ISIL, French officials confirmed.Â Police stormed the house and killed the attacker. The woman was found dead. Molins said the youngÂ boy was found safe and well but was “very shocked.” He was taken to hospital.
AbbalaÂ was previously convicted ofÂ terrorismÂ for recruiting fighters for jihad in Pakistan, according to the Associated Press and local media.
The Islamic Stateâs Amaq news agency said an ISILÂ fighter carried out the attack, citing an unnamed source.
“We are overcome with grief, he was a commanding officer at the Mureaux Station and she was secretary to the Mantes La Jolie commissioner,”Â Serge Morvan, the police chief ofÂ the Yvelines districtÂ âÂ whereÂ Magnanville is locatedÂ âÂ told France 24.
“We are stunned, shocked, devastated,” said Loic Fanouillere, administrative chief of the Alliance Police Union, the largestÂ police union in France.
“A policeman is prepared for the ultimate risk âÂ it is the type of job where you are not 100% sure you will come home in the evening… but now when your own family is hurt? “An attack on the policeman’s family, because he is a policeman, … this is something we never imagined could happen,” he said.
“These people (the Islamic State) are very organized,” Fanouillere added. “There are no lone wolves âÂ they are anything but idiots, they know Â what they are doingÂ very well and all their actions are carefully prepared and … unfortunately for us today, unstoppable.”
Terrorists have targeted policeÂ inÂ France before.
Two police officers were killed in the attacksÂ in Paris inÂ January 2015 that started with an assault on the offices of the satirical magazineÂ Charlie Hebdo. On the one-year anniversary of thoseÂ attacks, a man with a knife tried to enter a police station in Paris wearing a fake suicide vest before being killed by police.
Monday’s incident is the first terror attack in France since a state of emergency was implemented following November’s massacre in Paris that killed 130 people. It occurred during heightened security measures for the Euro 2016 soccer tournament. Cazeneuve said more than 100 people who were potentially a threat to the nation have been arrested in recent weeks.
Police officials had already expressed concern in the weeks leading up to the Euro 2016 over potential attacks.
Yves Lefebvre, the leader of a local police union in Paris, said the biggest threat during the tournament wasÂ “unfortunately the terrorist attacks.”
Olivier Duran, a spokesman forÂ the National Union of Security CompaniesÂ which represents private security firms, said that authorities chose to concentrate “huge security measures” on the open-access fan zonesÂ during the tournament. “But terrorism strikes out blindly and sometimes cleverly and looks for alternative targets to those high-security locations,” he said.
The terror attack follows a shooting in Orlando early Sunday that killed 49 people. U.S. authorities said the gunman,Â Omar Mateen,Â claimed his attack was in support of ISILÂ butÂ alsoÂ expressed support forÂ al-NusraÂ and other rogue organizations that are enemies of theÂ militant group.
Contributing:Â Jane Onyanga-Omara in London