Knifeman kills mother and sister near Paris, IS claims attack

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PARIS, Aug 23, 2018 (BSS/AFP) – A man stabbed his mother and sister to
death and seriously injured another person in a town near Paris on Thursday
before being shot dead by police.

The killer had serious mental health problems and had been on a terror
watch list since 2016, Interior Minister Gerard Collomb told reporters after
visiting the scene in the town of Trappes.

The motive for the violence remained unclear despite a claim by the Islamic
State group that it was an attack by one of its fighters responding to the
terror organisation’s propaganda.

Collomb said the attacker was “mentally unstable, rather than someone who
was committed, who would respond to orders from a terrorist organisation, in
particular Daesh,” another name for IS.

Regular French criminal prosecutors are investigating the case rather than
anti-terror specialists, Collomb stressed, although checks on the knifeman’s
phone and computer were under way.

Experts have urged caution about recent IS announcements because it has
lost credibility after claiming responsibility for seemingly unrelated
violence as it faces defeat on the battlefield in the Middle East.

– Social problems –

The killing spree began early on Thursday in Trappes, a poor town with a
large Muslim population about 30 kilometres (20 miles) southwest of the
capital.

Armed police responded to reports of violence and were threatened by the
man who stabbed his mother to death in her home, Collomb added.

“He walked towards the police with his knife,” he said. “Police then opened
fire.”

The assailant has not yet been named.

Only a short drive from the wealthy area of Versailles, home to a world-
famous palace, Trappes is known for its social problems linked to poverty,
drugs and hardline interpretations of Islam.

About 50 locals are suspected of having left France to fight for the
Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq, French security sources have
previously told AFP.

The knifeman had been on the terror watch list since 2016 after expressing
extremist views, a security source told AFP. BFM television reported that he
had serious alcohol and drug problems.

France remains on high alert after a string of jihadist attacks since 2015
that have claimed the lives of more than 240 victims.

IS claimed the Trappes attacker was one of its fighters.

“He carried out the attack in response to calls to target subjects of the
countries of the coalition” fighting IS, said a statement on its propaganda
channel Amaq.

The group claimed responsibility for a massacre in Las Vegas last year that
saw a wealthy accountant open fire on a crowd in one of the deadliest mass
shootings in recent US history . US investigators concluded that there was
“no evidence of radicalisation or ideology to support any theory that
(Stephen) Paddock supported or followed any hate group or any domestic or
foreign terrorist organisation”.

French terror expert Jean-Charles Brisard, head of the Center for the
Analysis of Terrorism (CAT), said it was “too soon to say” if IS had a hand
in the violence in Trappes.

“But remember that in 2017 we had three claims of responsibility that were
outlandish by Islamic State… above all the massacre in Las Vegas,” he told
AFP.

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