Paris Knife Attacker Admits Lying About His Age- Prosecutor

Anti-terrorism state prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard wearing a face mask speaks during a press conference on September 29, 2020 after man armed with a knife seriously wounded two people on September 25, 2020, (Photo by STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN / AFP)

 

A man who injured two people in a meat cleaver attack in Paris last week 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 Tuesday.

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.

After Friday’s attack, 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 Friday 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 underway in Paris.

The attacker seriously injured two employees of a TV production agency, whose offices are on the same block that used to house Charlie Hebdo. They are now in stable condition, officials said.

He told investigators he thought he was targeting employees of Charlie Hebdo, but did not realise they had since moved to a new location that is kept secret because of security risks.

Ricard said the attacker had never attracted the attention of any government intelligence agency before Friday’s assault.

-AFP

San Bernardino Attack: Obama Vows To Overcome Terror Threat

obamaUS President, Barack Obama, in a rare oval office address, says the San Bernardino killings were “an act of terrorism designed to kill innocent people”.

But he said “freedom is more powerful than fear” and warned that falling prey to divisiveness in American society would play into the hands of extremists.

President Obama on Sunday, issued his most passionate denunciation yet of ISIS, vowing to “destroy” the group in a relentless, strong and smart campaign that is consistent with the nation’s values.

“Dark Path Of Radicalisation”

The President, speaking in the symbolic surroundings of the Oval Office, unequivocally told millions of television viewers in prime-time that last week’s mass shooting in San Bernardino, California, was a terrorist attack by a couple who had gone down the “dark path of radicalisation” and embraced a “perverted” form of Islam.

“The threat from terrorism is real, but we will overcome it. We will destroy ISIL and any other organisation that tries to harm us.”

In an appeal that will likely anger conservatives, Obama demanded tougher gun control, saying it was a key part of combating ISIS. He said it is currently too easy for people who want to harm Americans to buy guns.

“Congress should act to make sure no one on a no-fly list is able to buy a gun. What could possibly be the argument for allowing a terrorist suspect to buy a semiautomatic weapon? This is a matter of national security,” Obama said, and also argued it should be harder to buy powerful assault weapons like those used in the San Bernardino attacks that killed 14 people.

“What we can do and must do, is make it harder for them to kill,” Obama said.