Frenchman gets 30 years for knife attack on soldiers guarding Nice Jewish center
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Frenchman gets 30 years for knife attack on soldiers guarding Nice Jewish center

Judges say Moussa Coulibaly has shown ‘little or no regret’ for assault, which came shortly after shootings at Charlie Hebdo, kosher supermarket

File: Soldiers stand guard outside the Jewish Community Center in Nice, France, February 3, 2015. (AFP Photo/Valery Hache)
File: Soldiers stand guard outside the Jewish Community Center in Nice, France, February 3, 2015. (AFP Photo/Valery Hache)

A Paris court on Thursday sentenced a jihadist to 30 years in prison over his February 2015 knife attack on three soldiers guarding a Jewish center in the Mediterranean city of Nice.

Moussa Coulibaly, now 35, staged his assault just weeks after the killing of 12 people at the Charlie Hebdo newspaper offices in Paris, the beginning of a wave of terror attacks carried out in the name of the Islamic State and other jihadist groups.

In the days following that shooting, four people were killed by a jihadist gunman at Hyper Cacher, a kosher supermarket during a hostage standoff with police. The assailant also killed a policewoman in the Montrouge suburb south of Paris where authorities think he may have initially been targeting a nearby Jewish school.

In issuing its ruling, the judges noted that Coulibaly had shown “little or no regret” for the attack, in which two soldiers were injured before a third wrestled Coulibaly to the ground.

They found “an almost fanatical determination” to apply IS calls for French citizens to carry out terror attacks on home soil.

Republican guards stand outside the Hyper Cacher supermarket ahead of a ceremony marking the second anniversary of the deadly attack against the store in Paris on January 5, 2017. (AFP/Christophe Archambault)

The assault sparked criticism of the government’s security efforts after the Charlie Hebdo massacre, since Coulibaly was well known to police.

A few weeks earlier, French intelligence services had been alerted to the fact that he was trying to enter Turkey — a key staging point for jihadists seeking to go fight in Syria — and asked the country to expel him.

He was questioned upon his return but later released because of insufficient evidence to press charges.

After the Nice attack Coulibaly told investigators he hated France as well as police, the military and Jews.

But in court on Thursday, Coulibaly said, “I’m now against violence. I would not do again what I did.”

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