“He was added to the list because of his radicalisation and his links with the Salafist movement” of ultra-conservative Islamism, Francois Molins, France’s top anti-terror prosecutor, said at a press conference in Carcassonne. He was found guilty of carrying a prohibited weapon in 2011 and later for drug use and refusing a court order in 2015, Molins said.
In 2016 then in 2017 he was the subject of an investigation by intelligence services, “which did not bring to light any sign that would indicate he would carry out a terrorist act,” he added. But when entering the Super U supermarket in nearby Trebes on Friday, Lakdim shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest), declared he was ready to die for Syria, and demanded the freedom for his brothers” before shooting and killing a client and an employee.
“He was just a regular kid, from a simple and regular family. He wore a beard and didn’t have a job,” a neighbor told AFP, asking to remain anonymous. Lakdim lived with his parents and reportedly had dropped off a little sister at school on Friday morning.
On Friday night a massive police operation was being carried out at the Ozanam housing estate in Carcassonne where Lakdim lived, not far from the police headquarters where he shot at officers earlier.
“We’re in a state of siege,” one resident at the scene said by phone as heavily armed and masked officers carried out searches.
A man in his 40s said he arrived in Ozanam when he was 14, “but now, I’m getting my mum out, she’s had two of her cars set on fire.” But others said it was no worse than other housing estates, and said there had been no signs of radicalization with Lakdim or other youths. “He wore a beard but he was just a regular kid,” one neighbor said. “He came out twice a day to walk his dog; we were really surprised to learn it was him.”
“The acts carried out today sadly remind us once more, tragically, that the terrorist threat level on our territory has not lessened,” Molins said. “Now mainly internal, it is first of all the result of radicalized individuals living in our country,” he said.