French soldier's slashing by man in Muslim prayer cap, robe stuns capital
PARIS — A uniformed French soldier on an anti-terrorism patrol west of Paris was wounded in the neck Saturday by a robed assailant wielding a box cutter, police and subway authorities said.
The soldier was reported to be out of danger after being transported to a nearby military hospital. But the attack sent a shudder through the French capital because it recalled the gory killing of a soldier in the streets of London on Wednesday allegedly by a pair of homegrown Muslim extremists, an act that the British government called terrorism.
The lone attacker was described as a young man wearing a Muslim prayer cap and a North African-style robe called a jellabah. According to a police account, he was monitored on security cameras and seen shedding his robe and fleeing in European clothes before disappearing into the crowd in a subway and suburban train entrance.
A vast manhunt began. President Francois Hollande, in televised remarks from Ethiopia where he is on a state visit, urged security authorities to “look at all the possibilities” as they investigate the assault.
The attack took place at La Defense business center in the suburbs, about a mile west of the Arc de Triomphe. Military patrols have been deployed for months in such transit centers around Paris and other French cities as part of an anti-terrorism plan called Vigipirate.
The patrols usually include several soldiers in camouflage uniforms and armed with French-made FAMAS automatic rifles. There was no word, however, on what other members of the patrol did or whether anybody fired at the assailant.
French authorities have warned for months that the country is in danger of a terrorist attack in reprisal for France's military intervention in January against Islamist jihadists in northern Mali. Several thousand French soldiers remain in Mali pending arrival of a U.N. and African peace maintenance force.
A French uranium mine at Arlit in northern Niger was attacked by Islamic guerrillas this week along with a nearby Niger military base, killing several dozen Niger soldiers. French special forces intervened the next day, killing several guerrillas, to liberate a group of hostages.
Internet postings said the attacks were carried out by MUJAO, the West African Unity and Jihadist Movement, in coordination with Those Who Sign in Blood, a split-off from al-Qaida in the Islamic Maghreb headed by Mokhtar Belmokhtar.
Belmokhtar, a one-eyed guerrilla leader and smuggler, was reported killed during the French offensive in Mali. But according to the postings, he was the planner of the attacks in Niger and described them as revenge for the French operation in Mali.
Show commenting policy
TribLive commenting policy
You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.
We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.
While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.
We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers.
We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.
We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.
We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.
We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.
- N. Korean ship sought to pay judgement in lawsuit
- Taliban leader quits amid leadership rift
- Israeli militant jailed in West Bank arson
- Comets hold life building blocks
- German prosecutor fired amid treason inquiry
- Russia stakes claim to energy-rich Arctic
- Al-Qaida group in Syria targeted by U.S.-led coalition airstrikes
- U.N. projects world’s population to reach 9.7 billion by 2050, 11.2 billion by end of century
- Extremist strikes again in attack on gay parade in Jerusalem
- Senate to grill United Nations agency chief Amano on Iran nuclear pact
- Vibrantly colored mural spread across 200 homes in central Mexico city