Terror probe opened as female police worker stabbed to death inside station near Paris
An administrative worker has been stabbed to death inside a police station in France, before her attacker was shot and killed nearby.
A police source said the woman was stabbed in the throat during the attack just inside the station in Rambouillet, a town southwest of Paris, home to a former royal estate.
Prosecutors have opened a terrorism investigation although no details have been given on the attacker’s identity or motive.
The woman was a 49-year-old administrative employee who worked for the national police service.
French President Emmanuel Macron has tweeted to pay tribute to the victim, who he named as Stephanie.
“In the fight against Islamist terrorism, we will not give up,” he added.
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Elle était policière. Stéphanie a été tuée dans son commissariat de Rambouillet, sur les terres déjà meurtries des Yvelines. La Nation est aux côtés de sa famille, de ses collègues et des forces de l’ordre. Du combat engagé contre le terrorisme islamiste, nous ne céderons rien.
Karl Olive, vice president of the regional council, said on BFM television: “We are in a state of astoundment.”
A police source told Reuters news agency the attacker had Tunisian nationality, was in France legally and had no police record.
He was also not known to intelligence agencies, another source said.
Anti-terrorism prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard said his office was looking into terrorist motives because the attacker had staked out the station beforehand, and also because of statements he made during the attack and his targeting of a police officer.
Witnesses allegedly heard the suspect say “Allahu akbar” – Arabic for “God is great” – during the attack, according to the official.
French Prime Minister Jean Castex rushed to the scene with other officials shortly after the incident, pledging the government’s determination to “fight terrorism in all its forms”.
Paris region president Valerie Pecresse called the attack “cowardly and barbaric”, adding: “The killer took [the victim] by surprise, she had just come out of the police station.”
She also told reporters at the scene that the “face of France” was targeted.
“Police are symbols of the republic. They are France,” she said.
Police cordons are surrounding the area following the stabbing.
France has seen multiple terror attacks in recent years, including several targeting police.