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“Angry” after the republication of the Charlie Hebdo cartoons, the man suspected of being the perpetrator of the knife attack in front of the former premises of the satirical newspaper in Paris, considered using white spirit to ‘set the scene ablaze, the national anti-terrorism prosecutor revealed on Tuesday.
The alleged perpetrator of the chopper attack in front of the former premises of Charlie Hebdo, in Paris, heard “to revolt” against the republication of Muhammad cartoons, but did not swear allegiance to any group, said Tuesday, September 29, the national counterterrorism prosecutor, Jean-François Ricard, at a press conference.
The magistrate added that the assailant had said he was “angry” after watching “videos from Pakistan in recent days” concerning the publication and recent republication by Charlie Hebdo of the prophet’s cartoons.
The prosecutor also confirmed that the person had premeditated his act: multiple locations the days preceding the facts, purchase of the chopper on the day of the attack, but also of a hammer and bottles of white spirit, because his “initial project was to enter the newspaper’s premises, using a hammer if necessary, and set them on fire with bottles of white spirit.
“Arriving in front of the street, and seeing the victims, he thought that the latter were working for (Charlie Hebdo) and decided to attack them,” said the prosecutor.
The 28-year-old woman injured in the attack suffers from several wounds and fractures to her face. The other victim, a 32-year-old man, suffered several skull fractures and remains hospitalized “in very serious condition,” said Jean-François Ricard.
New elements on the identity of the suspect
The suspect admitted his name was Zaheer Hassan Mahmoud and was born in Pakistan in 1995 and not in 2002, announced the national anti-terrorism prosecutor.
The suspect initially claimed to be called Hassan Ali and to have been born in 2002 in Pakistan, an identity under which he had benefited from child welfare when he arrived in France in 2018. Confronted with a Pakistani document found in his phone, “he finally admitted that it was his real identity and that he was 25 years old”, declared Jean-François Ricard, who confirmed that the suspect “was completely unknown to all the services of intelligence “.
This recognition of what appears to be his true identity, which has not yet been definitively authenticated with Pakistan, came towards the end of his 96 hours in police custody, which began on Friday noon, at the time of his arrest at the Place de la Bastille shortly after the fact.
Towards an indictment for terrorist “assassination attempt”
The man was referred on Tuesday to the Paris court with a view to his indictment for “attempted murder” terrorists and “terrorist criminal association”, announced the national anti-terrorism prosecutor.
The national anti-terrorism prosecution, which opened this judicial information at the end of his custody, requested his placement in pre-trial detention, added Jean-François Ricard.
“This judicial information will have to focus in particular on establishing the circumstances in which he was able to conceive such a project and whether he received any support,” he added.
The prosecutor said that the last five people around him placed in police custody were released without charges against them at this stage.
In total, in addition to Zaheer Hassan Mahmoud, ten people had been placed in police custody so far in this investigation.
With AFP and Reuters