Paris – A 20-year-old Moroccan man was killed by police officers in Paris on Thursday after shouting “Allahu akbar,” which means “God is [the] greatest.” Sources confirmed that the man tried to enter a police station while holding a knife and wearing a fake suicide belt. He also had a paper with a flag of the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) and an Arabic-written letter that claimed responsibility for the attack that occurred during the Charlie Hebdo first anniversary.
Sources seem to suggest that the man was identified as Ali Sallah, a young Moroccan-born in Casablanca who was previously known by the police for a theft in 2012 in southern France, when he was around 16 years old. However, the French Justice Minister, Christiane Taubira, affirmed that no links between Ali Sallah and violent Islamist radicalism have been identified before the attack that took place on Thursday.
Authorities also added the man had wires attached to his clothing, and the attack is being investigated by authorities as potential terrorism, according to police officers that talked to the New York Times on condition of anonymity.
January 7th is the first anniversary of the attacks that left 12 people killed in Paris, including artists and workers from the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and French police officers. On Thursday thousands of people worldwide have published comments and cartoons remembering the casualties and asking for peace and freedom. It was confirmed that Sallah’s attack took place just a few minutes after Francois Hollande declared in commemoration of the Charlie Hebdo victims.
It is known that France has been taken big security measures since the terrorist attacks that killed 130 people in November occurred. Paris has been in state of emergency since that moment, and police have assaulted homes, mosques, restaurants and hotels in order to take control of suspicious situations. Charlie Hebdo has also taken extreme security measures and has added security expenses to its budget.
“This past year we’ve had to invest nearly 2 million euros to secure our office, which is an enormous sum. We have to spend hundreds of thousands on surveillance of our offices, which wasn’t previously in Charlie’s budget, but we had an obligation so that employees feel safe and can work safely,” said Laurent Sourisseau, the editor-in-chief of Charlie Hebdo and cartoonist to France Inter radio.
Cartoonists from the magazine have also talked to France Inter radio about the worldwide phenomenon that represented the popular phrase “Je suis Charlie” that was written by thousands of people who were united with a similar message of peace and solidarity, after the attacks took place. On Thursday, people started using the same phrase again, since the situation of Ali Sallah was reported.
“It’s a phrase that was used during the march as a sign of emotion or resistance to terrorism and little by little, I realized that ‘I am Charlie’ was misused for so many things. And now I don’t really know what it means,” said Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Corinne Rey, who is best known as Coco.