Tourist dies in knife attack near Eiffel Tower in Paris

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A French man suspected of knife-wielding a German-Filipino tourist and injuring two others in Paris on Saturday has pledged allegiance to Islamic State, officials said.

French authorities said they were investigating the killing near the Eiffel Tower as a terrorist attack.

France has been gradually increasing security levels due to the Israeli-Hamas war, and has been on high alert in recent weeks. Paris is scheduled to host the Olympics next July.

Counter-terrorism prosecutor Jean-François Ricard said the suspect, a 26-year-old French man who was arrested after police intervened with a Taser, pledged allegiance to Islamic State in a social media video before the attack. It is said that he was

Ricard told a news conference that the suspect was convicted in 2018 of intent to commit a terrorist attack and was known to have wanted to travel to Iraq or Syria several years ago.

He was released from prison in 2020 and had a record of suffering from mental illness and receiving treatment.

“He comes from a family with no religious affiliation, converted to Islam in 2015 at the age of 18, and rapidly turned to jihadist ideology,” Ricard said.

Officials said the suspect first attacked a couple near the Eiffel Tower on Saturday evening, fatally stabbing a German-Filipino tourist.

He then assaulted a French man and a British woman with a hammer before being stopped by police, officials said. The two injured have been released from the hospital, Ricard said.

French Interior Minister Gerard Darmanin said the suspect told police he could no longer bear to see Muslims die in Gaza.

“He told the police who had just arrested him that he could not stand it anymore… to see Muslims die in Afghanistan and Palestine,” Darmanin told reporters.

The suspect, who was born in the wealthy Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine, admitted he was on a police watch list.

French President Emmanuel Macron said on social media site X: “My condolences to the families and loved ones of the Germans who died… in the Paris terrorist attacks.”

President Macron visited Qatar over the weekend and was engaged in talks to renew the ceasefire in the Israel-Hamas war and pursue a long-term ceasefire.

In October, France raised security levels to the highest possible level after a Chechen knifeman killed a teacher at a school in the northern city of Arras. At the time, President Macron condemned the attack as “barbaric Islamist terrorism.”

The government has warned that a war between Israel and Hamas could prompt attacks by radicalized individuals in France.

Hundreds of anti-Semitic incidents have also been registered by police in France since the start of the war. Authorities are on high alert to protect the country's Jewish community, Europe's largest.

German Foreign Minister Annalena Verbock condemned the attacks in Paris. “Hate and terror have no place in Europe,” she said in X.

The attack occurred on the banks of the Seine River, an area frequented by tourists seeking views of the night market.

“Right before the Olympics, it's a powerful symbol… to attack the French capital Paris and the Eiffel Tower,” Jeremy Redler, mayor of the 16th arrondissement, where the second part of the attack took place, told BFM TV. Ta.

The attack has sparked criticism of President Macron and his government, including from far-right politician Jordan Bardella.

“The suspect . . . was not only on the radicalization watch list, but also in prison,” Bardera said. “We need more than words.”

Additional reporting by Patricia Nilsson in Frankfurt

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