After the knife attack in Nice with three deaths, investigations are in full swing. Several people have been detained since the terrorist attack at the Notre-Dame Church in the center of the southern French city. The most recent arrests in France are of two men aged 35 and 33.
According to the French news agency AFP, the older of the two would have had direct contact with the perpetrator the day before the attack on Thursday morning. The other suspect was in the home of the 35-year-old during the arrest, the service reported on Saturday with reference to judicial circles.
According to his family, the 21-year-old Tunisian had become increasingly isolated and religious over the past two years. On Friday morning, detectives had already announced the arrest of a 47-year-old who was also suspected of contact with the attacker shortly before the crime.
The 21-year-old entered the EU illegally along with other migrants via the Italian island of Lampedusa in September. He would only have appeared in Nice shortly before the attack. After the crime, he was seriously injured by the police and is now in a hospital.
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A 54-year-old man and a 60-year-old woman were killed on Thursday morning in the attack in the Notre-Dame basilica. A second woman was injured and escaped to a bar, but the 44-year-old Brazilian died of her injuries there. According to the anti-terrorist prosecutor’s office, the attacker cut the man and the 60-year-old’s throats. The perpetrator therefore used a knife of 30 centimeters long with a blade of 17 centimeters.
Investigators found two more knives, two cell phones and a Quran in his pocket. The prosecutor assumes that the attacker wanted to kill many more people. She is investigating murder in connection with “an act of terrorism”.
The alleged perpetrator had recently entered France from Italy. According to a source familiar with the investigation, authorities believe that Issaoui arrived in Nice no more than 48 hours before the attack. According to another source, it is still unclear what exactly led the 21-year-old to the act.
Video 30-10-2020, 15:48 01:03 min. The family of the hit man from Nice describes a loner
Issaoui comes from a large family in the Tunisian coastal town of Sfax. His family can hardly believe he could be to blame. “That’s not normal,” said his brother. Other family members said the 21-year-old had recently withdrawn. The mother said, ‘He made beds, went to work, came back. He did not meet anyone and did not leave the house. “
According to Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi, the attacker shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) several times before the police shot and shot him. According to information from investigators, he was no longer conscious on Friday evening. The authorities in Tunisia have also opened an investigation and announced that they will support the French authorities.
Investigations are also ongoing in Tunisia. Security forces on Saturday arrested a man who confessed to the knife attack in Nice on behalf of a previously unknown group. There is likely a second person who helped him record the alleged confession video, a prosecutor said.
“On none of our watchlists”
The video appeared on social media after the attack. In it, a man claimed the deed of a group called “Ansar al-Mahdi in Tunisia and in the Mahgreb”. However, the judicial authorities have expressed doubts about the existence of such a group. It has not yet appeared.
According to the French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, Issaoui was “not on any of our checklists, neither on the French nor on the European.”
Darmanin also announced that it would send thousands of additional emergency services into the streets to ensure security in France. Accordingly, 3,500 reserve police are being mobilized, leaving a total of 7,000 security forces at the disposal of the local authorities. Schools and churches in particular should be better protected.
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For France, it is the third attack with a suspected terrorist background in just two months. In late September, two people were injured in a knife attack not far from the Paris offices of the satirical magazine “Charlie Hebdo”. In mid-October, teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded by an 18-year-old assailant.
According to researchers, Paty died after showing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in a lesson on freedom of speech. After the attack in Nice, France declared the highest level of terror warning. The protection of schools and places of worship was increased.
Crime scene in Notre Dame Basilica in Nice – an Islamist killed three people here Photo: Norbert Scanella / imago / PanoramiC
After the attacks, Berlin and Paris want to put the fight against terror on the agenda at the meeting of the EU interior ministers on November 13. That was agreed by the Federal Minister of the Interior Horst Seehofer and his French counterpart Darmanin.
In addition to reforming European asylum and migration policy, advice should also be given on how to better use the available instruments in the future to prevent terrorist atrocities.
In the statement released jointly on Friday, Seehofer and Darmanin spoke of “insidious terrorist attacks” and “a widespread terrorist threat on European soil”. They warned that persons identified by Member States as a terrorist or violent extremist threat “should be monitored with unremitting vigilance”.
The interior ministers call for a reliable and rapid exchange of information when these people travel to other Member States or make contact with other persons or networks. “For this we need a strict registration procedure at the border and an efficient common information system.” (AFP, dpa)