Officials: French Police Attacker Pledged Allegiance to IS

PARIS (AP) -
French police officers block the road leading to a crime scene the day after a knife-wielding attacker stabbed to death a senior police officer and his female companion Monday evening in Magnanville, west of Paris, France, Tuesday, June 14, 2016. French President Francois Hollande says that the stabbing attack that left two police officials dead was "incontestably a terrorist act." (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)
French police officers block the road leading to a crime scene the day after a knife-wielding attacker stabbed two police in Magnanville, west of Paris, Tuesday. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

A man who stabbed a police chief and police administrator to death at their home in a Paris suburb pledged loyalty to the leader of the Islamic State group and had a list of other targets, including journalists, police officers and public officials, the Paris prosecutor said Tuesday.

Prosecutor Francois Molins said attacker Larossi Abballa made the declaration of allegiance to Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi in exchanges with officers during a three-hour standoff Monday night in the suburb of Magnanville, about 35 miles west of Paris. He was eventually killed by police.

Abballa was responding to IS calls to “kill non-believers where they live,” and with their families, Molins said. IS news agency Amaq cited an unnamed source as saying an IS terrorist carried out the attack, and prosecutor’s office spokeswoman Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre said French authorities have “no reason” to doubt the claim.

Abballa recorded a 12-minute video related to the attack and posted it on social media, Molins said, but he did not provide further details.

Molins said three people —ages 27, 29 and 44 — were detained Tuesday in the investigation. He did not provide any other details.

French President Francois Hollande said earlier Tuesday that it was “incontestably a terrorist act” and that France faces a threat “of a very large scale.”

Hollande held an emergency security meeting Tuesday.

“France is not the only country concerned (by the terrorist threat), as we have seen, again, in the United States, in Orlando,” he said.

A resident of the apartment building where Abballa lived, who did not want to give his name, said police raided it early Tuesday.

A social media profile bearing the name Larossi Abballa — which vanished from the internet early Tuesday — showed a photo of a smiling, bearded man. Two recent posts featured videos critical of Israel and Saudi Arabia. The last publicly available post was a mock-up of the European Championship logo, highlighting what the poster said were masonic and occult symbols.

“Some will say we see evil everywhere!” Abballa said in a message posted about 18 hours before the attack.

On Tuesday, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve visited the police station in Les Mureaux where stabbing victim Jean-Baptiste Salvaing worked. He said more than 100 people seen as potential threats have been arrested in France this year, including in recent weeks.

France, like other countries in Europe, has seen a series of stabbings aimed at police officers and soldiers carried out by Muslim radicals.

Monday’s attack shook police officers, and Cazeneuve said they would be allowed to take home their service weapons.

“Today every police officer is a target,” Yves Lefebvre of police union Unite SGP Police-FO told The Associated Press. He says attackers are “professionalizing” and can now find police in their homes.