Paris stabbing suspect born in Chechnya

Paris stabbing suspect born in Chechnya

The suspect in a Paris knife attack that killed one and injured four others was a French citizen who was born in Chechnya in 1997.

14 Mayıs 2018 - 02:00

The suspect in a Paris knife attack that killed one and injured four others was a French citizen who was born in Chechnya in 1997.

The suspect, identified by authorities as Khamzat Azimov, was shot dead by police responding to the stabbing in central Paris just after 9 p.m. Saturday.

"PHOTO:Handout/AFP/Getty Images
Khamzat Azimov, a 20-year-old Frenchman born in Chechnya, who is the suspect in a Paris knife attack on May 12, 2018, is pictured in this undated handout photo obtained on May 13, 2018.

The attacker was heard shouting shouting “Allahu akbar” -- Arabic for “God is great" -- prior to the stabbing. ISIS later claimed he was a "soldier of the Islamic State."

Azimov was born in Chechnya in 1997 and became a French citizen in 2010, authorities told ABC News.

The suspect's parents and a friend were being questioned by French police on Sunday in Strasbourg, France, where the alleged assailant spent part of his teenage years, the Paris prosecutor's office told ABC News.

"PHOTO:Thibault Camus/AP
A bullet hole seen on the window of a cafe located near the area where the assailant of a knife attack was shot dead by police officers, in central Paris, May 13, 2018.

Paris Prosecutor François Molins told reporters that the incident was being investigated to determine whether it was an act of terror.

“Based on testimony of eyewitnesses who said they heard the attacker saying '[Allahu] Akbar' and because of the method of the attack it's the anti-terror unit who is in charge of the investigation,” he said.

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"PHOTO:Thomas Samson/AFP/Getty Images
Mayor of Paris Anne Hidalgo (C) talks to emergency service members in a street in Paris center after a knife attack in Paris, May 12, 2018.

A French judicial source confirmed with ABC News that the alleged assailant was on the country's database of radicalized people.

Hours after the incident the terrorist group ISIS claimed the killer as one of its "soldiers," the SITE Intel group, which monitors terrorist messaging, said.

"The executor of the stabbing operation in the city of Paris is a soldier of the Islamic State and the operation was carried out in response to the calls to target the coalition states," the SITE Intel group reported the Amaq Agency, ISIS's media wing, as having said.

According to SITE, the designation of a "soldier of the Islamic State" generally refers to an ISIS-inspired attack, as opposed to one directly coordinated by the terror group.

"PHOTO:Thibault Camus/AP
A police officer helps evacuating residents after a knife attack in central Paris, May 12, 2018.

Pierre Gaudin, the Paris Police Prefecture director, said five people were assaulted. The attack happened just after 9 p.m. in the 2nd arrondissement of Paris, rue Monsigny, he said.

The alleged assailant was shot by the police and was pronounced dead. Police said the attacker was "neutralized" within nine minutes of the first emergency call.

"The police intervened immediately and the individual died," he said.

The suspect was born in Chechnya in 1997 and had no previous arrests, according to The Associated Press. The AP reported the attacker's parents are in custody as well.

French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb tweeted a photo of himself meeting with first responders to the attack, saying in French, "They watch for the fatherland."

"PHOTO:Thibault Camus/AP
A police officer cordons off the area after a knife attack in central Paris, May 12, 2018.

Je retrouve à l’hôpital Georges Pompidou les policiers qui ont neutralisé en quelques minutes l’assaillant de la rue #Monsigny.
Ils ont fait honneur à leur uniforme, fidèles à la devise de la @PoliceNationale : « Ils veillent pour la patrie ».

— Gérard Collomb (@gerardcollomb) May 13, 2018

In addition to the person who died, two others were seriously injured and were transferred to George Pompidou Hospital, he added. Two other victims sustained minor injuries. Collomb told reporters early Sunday that all of the victims were expected to recover.

"PHOTO:Eric Feferberg/AFP/Getty Images
People walk on Monsigny street in Paris, May 13, 2018, on the site where a man attacked several people with a knife the night before.

ABC News' Paul Pradier and Joshua Hoyos contributed to this report.



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