Police on the scene rapidly intervened and killed the attacker, Prime Minister Jean Castex advised journalists on Friday, referring to the incident in Rambouillet as a “terrorist assault.”
Castex mentioned that “our dedication to combat terrorism in all its form is unbroken, greater than ever.”
French anti-terrorist prosecutor Jean-François Ricard mentioned, “The way in which this crime was dedicated” and “the phrases mentioned by the attacker throughout the occasion” led the anti-terror workplace to tackle the investigation.
The attacker had scouted the placement earlier than launching the stabbing, Castex mentioned. And witnesses heard the attacker shout “Allahu Akhbar,” in accordance with a supply near the investigation.
Three folks, believed to be members of the attacker’s shut circle, have been taken into custody, a French judicial supply advised CNN.
Castex and French Inside Minister Gérald Darmanin mentioned they had been on their technique to Rambouillet, a city of 25,000 folks 35 miles southwest of the capital.
“The Republic has simply misplaced considered one of its heroines, in an infinitely coward barbaric gesture,” he added.
Reacting to the assault, French President Emmanuel Macron mentioned France wouldn’t surrender the combat in opposition to terrorism.
“She was a police officer. Stephanie has been killed in her police station in Rambouillet, on the already wounded land of the Yvelines. The Nation stands by the facet of her household, her colleagues, and regulation enforcement officers. We won’t surrender the combat in opposition to Islamist terrorism,” Macron mentioned on Twitter.
Assaults intensify debate over French secularism
The assault comes amid an intensive public debate over France’s mannequin of secularism, which has wracked the nation in current months and is prone to be a key difficulty within the presidential election subsequent yr.
Generally known as “laïcité” in French, the separation of church and state is the framework of the nation’s political system and is deeply ingrained in French tradition.
French lawmakers have been engaged on contentious laws aimed toward combating Islamist radicalism and reinforcing the nation’s precept of laïcité, as President Macron makes an attempt to enchantment to right-wing voters.
However secularism is divisive in a rustic as numerous as France, which is residence to five million Muslims — a lot of whom dwell in poorer areas and are sometimes marginalized in politics and media. The overwhelming majority of France’s Muslims don’t help Islamic extremism, but nonetheless face unfair stereotypes, consultants say.
Critics say the invoice, which incorporates measures that might ban head scarves and different overt non secular clothes or symbols, dangers discriminating in opposition to Muslims.
The invoice is presently being scrutinized by a cross-party parliamentary fee.
The broader debate over laïcité and whether or not it really works in fashionable, multicultural France has been intensified by current terror assaults.
Macron subsequently issued a powerful protection of the precept of freedom of speech and mentioned France wouldn’t “surrender” the caricatures, which had been printed in satirical journal Charlie Hebdo in 2012.
The assaults are the newest in a string of violence linked to the cartoon in France over a number of years. In 2015, 17 folks had been killed in a terror assault that started in Charlie Hebdo’s places of work in Paris and carried on for 3 days.
The caricatures are thought-about blasphemous in Islam, and Macron’s feedback triggered widespread anger in lots of Muslim-majority nations final yr.
Antonella Francini contributed to this report from Paris.
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