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French police probe attacker who stabbed cop to death for any extremist ties

AMBOUILLET, France — French anti-terrorism investigators question three detained people, seeking to establish a motive and uncover any possible ties to extremism after a police official was fatally stabbed at a police station outside Paris.

The attack yesterday on an unarmed administrative employee at the entry to her station in the town of Rambouillet has jolted the French government to take a deeper look at what new steps are needed to counter attacks. The employee had left the station to extend her time on a parking meter.

BFM-TV reports that a secret crisis meeting today headed by Prime Minister Jean Castex was attended by the justice and defense ministers and police and intelligence officials.

French President Emmanuel Macron, meanwhile, visits the family of the victim, a 49-year-old identified only as Stephanie. She lived in Thoiry, about 30 kilometers (19 miles) north of Rambouillet, where she worked. The president’s office says he wanted “to show support and solidarity with the family … very upset and very dignified.”

A steady stream of people bearing flowers hand the bouquets to police officers in Rambouillet but the station remais closed to the public.

Officers “very quickly” killed the Tunisia-born stabbing suspect who lived in the town after Friday’s attack, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin says. The attacker entered France illegally in 2009 and was given residency papers in 2020, a judicial official says.

The attacker had staked out the police station ahead of time, anti-terrorism prosecutor Jean-France Ricard says. The preparation, along with statements he said during the attack and the targeting of a police official, prompted the national anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office to take over the investigation.

The 37-year-old suspect, identified as Djamel G., had no criminal record or record of radicalization, French media reports. But witnesses heard him say “Allahu akbar!” Arabic for “God is great,” during the attack, says a French judicial official who was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly.

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