Killer of French police couple ‘acted on ISIL message’

The man who killed a French police officer and his partner in a stabbing attack outside their home near Paris was inspired by the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) group, according to a video he posted on Facebook during the attack.

Larossi Abballa filmed himself with the couple’s child, calling for more attacks and referred to ISIL spokesman Abu Mohamed al-Adnani, who called for attacks on Europe and the United States during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.

French prosecutor Francois Molins on Tuesday said Abballa told negotiators that he had sworn loyalty to ISIL three weeks earlier.

Molins said police had found a hit list at the scene naming police, dignitaries, journalists and rappers to be targeted.

ISIL (also known as ISIS) claimed responsibility for the killings shortly after the attack.

‘Scourge of terror’

In Monday night’s assault, Abballa, who was under surveillance after serving time for links to armed groups in Pakistan, stabbed Jean-Baptiste Salvaing and took the police commander’s partner Jessica Schneider and the couple’s three-year-old son hostage before killing the woman by slitting her throat.

Three associates of Abballa have been arrested over the attack, Molins said, one of them among a group convicted alongside him in 2013 over their involvement in the same network.

French President Francois Hollande spoke by phone with his US counterpart Barack Obama to discuss the threat facing both countries.

“Both leaders reaffirmed their shared commitment to degrading and destroying ISIL and standing against the broader scourge of terrorism,” the White House said in a statement Tuesday.

Analysis: The dilemma for France

The couple’s deaths are the first police fatalities in an attack since January 2015 when gunmen attacked the Charlie Hebdo satirical newspaper, a Jewish supermarket and the police, killing 17 people including three officers.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Monday’s killings showed the gravity of the threat to security forces “who are paying a heavy price to ensure the safety of the French”.

Police unions announced they had secured the right for officers to remain armed while off duty, which has until now only been allowed under the state of emergency declared after November’s Paris attacks.

France has increased security across the country as it hosts the Euro 2016 football tournament.


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