Manhunt continues for soldier's assailant in France
By The Washington Post
Published: Sunday, May 26, 2013, 8:48 p.m.
PARIS —French police pursued a nationwide manhunt on Sunday for a tall, bearded assailant who wounded a uniformed soldier in the neck with a box cutter in what authorities said was an attempted assassination.
The 23-year-old 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.
Initial reports described the lone attacker as wearing a North African-style robe called a jellabah during the assault Saturday evening. But the district prosecutor, Robert Gelli, said he was wearing a black sweater and black trousers as security cameras monitored him later fleeing into the crowd at a subway and suburban entrance plaza.
“He left without saying a word,” Gelli told French television.
President Francois Hollande, in a televised statement from Ethiopia, where he is on a state visit, urged security authorities to “look at all the possibilities” as they investigate the assault that Interior Minister Manuel Valls said was an attempt to kill the soldier.
The attack took place at the La Defense business center in the suburbs, about a mile west of the Arc de Triomphe. Military patrols have been deployed for months in transit centers across Paris and French cities as part of an anti-terrorism plan called Vigipirate.
The patrols usually comprise several soldiers in camouflage and armed with French-made FAMAS automatic rifles. There was no word on what other members of the patrol did or whether anybody fired at the assailant.
French authorities have warned for months that the country was 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 Islamist guerrillas last week along with a nearby Nigerien military base, killing several dozen Nigerien soldiers. French special forces intervened the next day, killing several guerrillas, to liberate hostages.
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.
Subscribe today! Click here for our subscription offers.