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Sunday, 27 September 2020
Suspect in Paris knife attack confesses to stabbings
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From France 24

A Pakistan-born teenager has admitted to stabbing two people with a meat cleaver outside the former Paris offices of Charlie Hebdo magazine, investigators said Saturday, with nine people now detained over what the government condemned as "Islamist terror".

The 18-year-old said he wanted to avenge the republication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed by the satirical weekly, which in January 2015 was targeted in a massacre carried out by Islamist gunmen.

While the man is believed to have carried out the stabbings alone, eight other people are now also under arrest following two more detentions Saturday. The two new individuals arrested were the suspect's younger brother and another acquaintance, a judicial source said.

The man, who said he was born in Pakistan and is 18, "takes responsibility for his action", a source close to the investigation said.

The man said during questioning he places his actions "in the context of the republication of cartoons" of the Prophet Mohammed in Charlie Hebdo on the eve of the trial opening.

The people wounded were employees of prize-winning TV production agency Premieres Lignes, whose offices are in the same block in central Paris that used to house Charlie Hebdo.

However it is not believed that the two, who had stepped out onto the street for a cigarette break, were specifically targeted.

The man mistakenly believed Charlie Hebdo's offices were still in that building and wanted to attack journalists from the magazine, a source close to the inquiry told AFP, confirming information first published in the Le Parisien newspaper. Charlie Hebdo moved offices after the 2015 attack and its current address is kept secret for security reasons.

French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said Friday the attack was "clearly an act of Islamist terrorism". 

The photograph I used here last week came from AFP and the defendant's face was pixelated. There are unpixelated images doing the rounds. The source (so far as I can trace them back) is a French LGBT activist and Je Suis Charlie supporter on Twitter. He has both a different shot of the defendant sitting by the steps immediately after capture, and what seems very likely to be the same man inside (the police station? custody suite type place?) shortly after.

If genuine, and I have no reason to doubt them, he may well be carrying papers with a date of birth of 2002 (those of the younger brother arrested since perhaps?) but he is NOT 18 years old. Not even with an uphill paper round in childhood. Not even as a result of the strain of being a jihadist in Europe's most romantic city. He's scamming so as to get favourable young person treatment and status. I put him at 20 years older. 

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Posted on 09/27/2020 7:06 AM by Esmerelda Weatherwax
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