Paris attack suspect charged with attempted 'terrorist' murder

Man who wounded two people in meat cleaver attack admits to having lied to police when he said he was 18 years old.

Elad Benari ,

Police in Paris
Police in Paris
Reuters

A man who wounded two people in a meat cleaver attack in Paris last week has been charged with "attempted murder with relation to a terrorist enterprise," AFP reports, citing French anti-terrorist prosecutors.

A judge also placed the man – who has identified himself as 25-year-old Pakistani-born Zaheer Hassan Mehmood – under judicial investigation for criminal association with terrorists, the prosecuting authority PNAT said, adding that a request had been made for him to be remanded in custody.

The suspect had previously admitted he lied to police when he said he was 18 and had entered the country as a minor, the lead prosecutor in the case said.

The assailant in what the French government has called an act of "Islamist terrorism" had identified himself as Hassan A., an 18-year-old born in the Pakistani town of Mandi Bahauddin.

He entered France in 2018 under the false identity that gave him access to social security aid for minors, national anti-terror prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard told a news conference, according to AFP.

After the attack last Friday, investigators became suspicious about his claims when they found a photo of an identity document on his phone that appeared to suggest he was actually called Zaheer Hassan Mehmood, aged 25.

"He eventually admitted that this was his true identity and that he was 25 years old," Ricard said.

It was under that identity that he appeared in a video filmed before the attack, in which he said he was avenging the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed by the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.

The magazine was the scene of a massacre by Islamist gunmen in January 2015, and the trial of 14 alleged accomplices in that attack is currently under way in Paris.

Charlie Hebdo received fresh threats from Al-Qaeda this month after it republished the controversial cartoons.

Since the Charlie Hebdo attack, France has been hit by a number of attacks claimed by 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.



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