Anti-terror police take over probe into Paris knife attack

French detectives refer investigation into knife rampage that left four dead to anti-terrorist prosecutors.

Elad Benari, Canada ,

Police in Paris
Police in Paris

French detectives on Friday referred the investigation into a knife rampage by a staffer at Paris police headquarters that left four colleagues dead to anti-terrorist prosecutors, sources said, according to AFP.

Three police officers and an administrative worker -- three men and a woman -- died in the frenzied 30-minute attack by the 45-year-old computer expert that ended when he was shot dead.

Two others were injured in the Thursday lunchtime stabbing spree.

Earlier, officials said national anti-terror prosecutors were watching the murder probe closely but had not yet opened an investigation of their own.

Later on Friday, however, sources at both the Paris prosecutor's office which had been handling the inquiry and the anti-terrorist prosecutor's office (PNAT) said the case had now been passed to the latter.

The man, named as Mickael H., was born on the French overseas territory of Martinique in the Caribbean and was a recent convert to Islam. He was partially deaf.

He had worked for the police since 2003 without ever arousing suspicion. But his wife, who is being questioned by police, claimed he had behaved in an "unusual and agitated" manner the night before the attack, sources said.

A search of the couple's house in a low-income Paris suburb near Charles de Gaulle airport yielded no evidence that the man, who became a Muslim about 18 months ago, had been motivated by radical religious ideology, the source added, according to AFP.

Government spokeswoman Sibeth Ndiaye earlier told Franceinfo radio that no assumptions were being made on the basis that the killer was a Muslim convert.

"... it is important to emphasize -- you are not a terrorist because you are Muslim and converting to Islam is not an automatic sign of radicalization. The facts need to be looked at carefully," she said.

France has been hit by a wave of terrorist attacks in recent years, beginning with the 2015 attack on the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine which was followed by the attack on the Hyper Cacher kosher supermarket in which four people were murdered.

Since those attacks, France has been hit by a number of attacks claimed by the Islamic State (ISIS), the biggest one being the attack in November of 2015 in which 129 people were murdered.

The country has been under a heightened alert in recent years in the wake of the attacks.

(Arutz Sheva’s North American desk is keeping you updated until the start of Shabbat in New York. The time posted automatically on all Arutz Sheva articles, however, is Israeli time.)