Avignon attacker now known to be not a Muslim or a terrorist, but mentally unbalanced and claimed membership of a right wing group.

This is from the best source I can find so far, since the claim first came to my attention earlier this evening. 

From France 3 Regions using Google translate to supplement my schoolgirl French. Coming two hours after the terror attack in Nice when three people were murdered in the Basilica, and with witnesses reported in reputable newspapers that the assailant in Avignon, shot dead by police, was also making the Islamic warcry of Allah Akbar it was a reasonable assumption that this too was an incident of islamic terrorism. The latest statements from the authorities is different.

According to a police source, the man threatened people in the street with a handgun.

The police intervened when they were called around 10:00 am by a man reporting that an individual equipped with a pistol-type handgun was threatening people in the street,

According to a witness, the man is about thirty years old but the inhabitants of the neighboughhood do not know him.

 “The man charged at them with his weapon and was killed by the police,” said a spokesperson for the Avignon police. Nobody else was injured.

The public prosecutor Philippe Guémas arrived on the scene at the end of the morning. He Philippe Guémas specified that the man “never shouted Allah Akbar, he was never armed with a knife. . . We were able to establish his identity, he is a Frenchman, born in France, 33 years old who has nothing to do with the Muslim religion.”

He was showing signed of being unbalanced and therefore the investigation will concentrate on his personality and seek to clarify the reasons for his actions. 

According to information from Mediapart, the man killed was wearing a blue jacket with the logo “Defend Europe” of the extreme right-wing group Generation Identity.

Now, instead of the cry Allah Akbar a witness (another witness? the same witness after some thought?) is suggesting a gesture that could have been a Nazi salute. 

The investigation was handed over to the federal police.

The Independent, a newspaper I generally dislike for its far left stance but which to be fair, does report from some interesting places, has some more information, but isn’t, as I might have expected, screaming ‘far right attack’ and getting soundbites from Hope not Hate and the usual suspects. Maybe the genuine Jihadi horror of Nice, and the potential horror of the attack on the French security guard at the consulate in Saudi Arabia and the foiled potential attacks in Paris and Lyon has softened their cough. 

A police official told The Independent the attacker said he was from the far-right Mouvance Identitaire.

He was killed after he refused to drop his weapon and a flash-ball shot failed to stop him, a police official told The Associated Press. French media reports had initially suggested he had shouted “Allahu akbar”, suggesting it was an Islamist attack. 

Le Figaro newspaper quoted a prosecution source as saying the man was undergoing psychiatric treatment, and that they did not believe there was a Islamist terrorism motive. The man appeared to be wearing a jacket displaying a “Defend Europe” logo,

On Thursday, Martin Sellner, leader of generation Identitiaire in Austria, posted a photo of the Avignon attacker’s body on his channel on the encrypted messaging service Telegram.

“People are now claiming that he is ‘part of the Identitarian Movement’,” Sellner wrote. “He was wearing a jacket from the [Generation Identity] shop that was freely available online.”

In a statement released on Thursday evening, Generation Identity denied the man was a member of its French faction. “The man was neither a participant in the 2018 action in the Alps nor a member,” said a statement. “The Identitarian Movement has always distanced itself from terror and violence and follows the principle of non-violent activism.”

He may well have had personal views on the ‘far-right’ end of the spectrum and even agreed with the views espoused by Generation Indentity, or Indentitiaire, or the Identiarian movement of which GI is the youth wing. I have not seen much of GI but from what I have seen their operation seems very cool and controlled; organised and well planned. Brandishing a lethal weapon at policemen and north African shopkeepers and ranting in the street does not sound to me to be to be part of their modus. I think enough has happened today with three deaths, and worse could have happened such that I am thankful that the police managed to stop him and the others in Lyon and Paris before there was more carnage. 


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