Who is Khamzat Azimov, the Paris knife attacker?

0
28

Khamzat Azimov, the Paris knife attacker, was born in Chechnya and was on a list of potential terrorism suspects. Azimov stabbed five passers-by, fatally injuring one, in the middle of a crowded neighborhood.

Azimot confronted three police offers with bloodied hands and face near the main Paris Opera house, the Rue Monsigny, witnesses said, and was quickly gunned down after the police apparently failed to stop him with a stun gun.

A day after the fatal stabbing, the Islamic State’s news agency, Amaq, released a cellphone video of the attacker pledging allegiance to the terrorist group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, and issuing a call to fellow Islamic State supporters in France, Germany, Britain and elsewhere to carry out attacks.

The rampage on Saturday lasted less than 20 minutes, and Oliver Woodhead, a restaurant owner on the street, said the police had arrived “within 45 seconds” of the suspect’s appearance on the Rue Monsigny.

Mr. Woodhead said he saw the suspect running into the Rue Monsigny, apparently on the lookout for more potential victims. “He came around the corner, and his hands were bloody,” Mr. Woodhead said. “He’d done his business.”

Three police officers on foot quickly entered the short street. After the stunning failed to stop him, “he came at the third policeman,” Mr. Woodhead said.

Two shots were fired, one of them hitting the suspect in the chest.

A French judicial official said that the victim who was fatally stabbed was a 29-year-old man. None of the injuries suffered by the four wounded people are considered life-threatening, officials said on Sunday.

The suspect had been on the government’s terrorism watch list since 2016, placed there, according to French news reports, because of his contacts with a man whose wife had attempted to go to Syria. There are too many to follow closely, officials say, and it does not signal past criminal activity.

“Once again we learn that the terrorist was in the S Files,” said Marine Le Pen, referring to the government’s antiterrorism list. “What use are the S Files if we don’t use them to neutralize these time bombs on French soil?”

A government spokesman, Benjamin Griveaux, responded in a broadcast on Sunday that “zero risk doesn’t exist” and that “those who say pulling responses out of a hat will solve the problem are lying.”

On Sunday, the police questioned Mr. Azimov’s parents and searched an apartment connected to the family in the 18th Arrondissement of Paris. Born in November 1997 in Chechnya, Azimov arrived in France with his parents in the early 2000s. He grew up in Nice, and then in Strasbourg’s Elsau neighborhood, which has a large Chechnyan population. In 2004 his family received refugee status, and his mother obtained French citizenship six years later. Azimov became a naturalized French citizen in 2010. His father’s naturalization quest was denied, as the parents were separated. An official said that a friend of Azimov’s, also born in 1997, had been taken into custody in Strasbourg

Apart from being questioned by security services in 2017 over his connections to the Syria departure, he had no previous run-ins with the authorities. But the fact the attacker was able to get his videotaped footage to the Islamist group’s central news operation before carrying out the stabbing indicates that he had, at a minimum, a digital connection with it.

In the two minute and 31 second video clip, Mr. Azimov is seen wearing a balaclava that covers the lower part of his face. He is in a wooded, secluded area and he speaks into the camera, pledging allegiance to the Islamic State.

“There is a lot of suffering; this is a new ordeal,” Anne Hidalgo, the mayor of Paris, told French television, as she paid a visit on Sunday to the neighborhood of the attack. “Every time we are called for this kind of events, we wonder if this is going to happen again.”

Social Share Toolbar

Sources

http://www.lemonde.fr/police-justice/article/2018/05/13/qui-est-khamzat-azimov-l-auteur-de-l-attentat-au-couteau-qui-a-fait-un-mort-a-paris_5298293_1653578.html

www.nytimes.com/2018/05/13/world/europe/paris-knife-attack-isis-chechnya.html