French police arrest 5 after fatal stabbing of police official

French authorities detain a fifth person in an anti-terrorism investigation seeking to identify potential accomplices and motives after a police official was fatally stabbed at a police station outside Paris.

French police killed the 37-year-old Tunisian attacker shortly after he stabbed the unarmed administrative employee on Friday at the entrance of her police station in the town of Rambouillet.

In a news conference on Sunday, anti-terrorism prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard says police are questioning a cousin of the suspect.

The suspect’s father, a couple who had provided him with an address for mail and other administration, and another cousin were also being questioned, Ricard says.

The victim, a National Police employee, had left the station to extend her time on a parking meter and was followed into the entry area and stabbed by the attacker. He was then shot to death by a police officer.

The attacker, identified by authorities as Jamel G., entered France illegally in 2009 and was given residency papers at the end of 2019, Ricard says. He was a practicing Muslim according to his father, Ricard adds.

He had staked out the police station ahead of time and listened to religious songs inciting to “jihad” just before the attack, according to evidence found on his mobile phone. Witnesses heard him say “Allahu akbar!” Arabic for “God is great,” during the attack, he says.

The man had no criminal record or evidence of radicalization, Ricard says, stressing that investigations are taking place to determine whether people helped or inspired the attacker, in “close coordination” with Tunisian judicial authorities.

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