Police in Paris shot dead a man on Thursday, who was wielding a meat cleaver after he reportedly tried to enter a police station shouting “Allahu Akbar” and wearing what turned out to be a fake suicide belt.
The shooting took place exactly one year after attacks on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in the French capital and also just minutes after President Francois Hollande had given a speech in an another part of Paris to mark the anniversary.
The assailant, described as “threatening” by police sources, was gunned down as he tried to force his way into the police station. A statement from the Paris prosecutor said that “the man was carrying a mobile phone and a note on which figured the black Isil flag and an “unambiguous statemenent” in Arabic.
“The man may have been wearing something that could be a suicide belt,” Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet told BFM TV. However, it later proved to be a “fake” suicide belt.
Police expanded their security cordon about an hour after the attack, swiftly and roughly clearing out hundreds who had gathered at a subway station and along nearby streets. Shops were ordered shuttered along neighbouring streets, and shop owners hastily rolled down shutters.
France has been on high alert ever since a series of attacks on November 13, 2015, claimed by the Islamic State group, which killed 130 people in Paris and tensions increased this week as the anniversary of the attacks on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine approached.