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Castaner says “not feeling personally responsible” for the attack in the Prefecture of the Paris Police

October 7, 2019


French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said Monday “not feeling personally responsible” for the knife attack on Thursday in the Prefecture of Police in the capital of France, which resulted in four deaths.

Castaner has acknowledged in an interview with the France Inter station errors in identifying the danger posed by the attacker, a police officer radicalized in Islam, although he has again rejected the option to resign.

“At a time when the Police are destabilized, the Minister of the Interior should not raise this type of issue, but direct the Administration and investigations to change what should be changed,” he said.

Thus, he said that “there was no trace of radicalization, no sign”, in the history of the attacker, Mickael Harpon, who was shot dead by an agent who was at the scene of the attack.

“No one thought that it was necessary to examine the history of this person with greater attention,” he said. “The first system failure is that there was no signal,” he acknowledged.

On the other hand, Castaner has argued that the event reveals a “dysfunctionality of the State”, but does not imply “a state scandal”, while advocating to automate radicalization alerts.

In fact, the assailant had come to celebrate on the Internet the attack on the offices of the satirical magazine 'Charlie Hebdo', without anyone doing anything to investigate it.

The anti-terrorist prosecutor, François Ricard, explained on Saturday that he has assumed the investigation of the existence of indications that it is a premeditated crime, the desire of the attacker to die and the nature of the injuries of at least one of the victims.

“The context of latent radicalization” and exclusively religious messages sent by the individual to his wife shortly after the crime are additional factors, Ricard told a news conference.

The investigation also revealed contacts between the attacker and several individuals allegedly belonging to a Salafist Islamist movement, Ricard added, who reported that the attacker stabbed two policemen first. A third police officer was killed in another office and an administrative officer was stabbed on the stairs.

The attacker was born on the island of Martinique and had been working for several years in the Police Prefecture. He converted to Islam ten years ago, according to Ricard.