Three soldiers in France attacked by knife-wielding man

February 4, 2015 6:36 pm

An attacker with a knife hidden in his bag attacked three soldiers on
an anti-terror patrol in front of a Jewish community centre in southern
, two police officials said.
Sarah Baron, a police union
official in the city of Nice, said the attacker was detained after the
attack near the Galeries Lafayette department store. Nice Mayor
Christian Estrosi said the attacker had an identity card with the name
Moussa Coulibaly.
The surname, which is relatively common for
families of Malian descent, is the same as that of the man who seized
hostages in a kosher supermarket in Paris and gunned down a policewoman
last month.
Another police official said the attacker pulled a
knife at least 20 centimetres long out of a bag and set upon one of the
soldiers, injuring him in the chin. He then swiped two other soldiers —
one in the cheek, the other in the forearm — before being apprehended
by riot police stationed near the building, which houses the city’s
Jewish community center.

A manager at the centre, who did not want to be identified
because she was afraid, confirmed soldiers posted in front of the
building were attacked. She said it happened around lunchtime and no one
was inside the office.
The attacker, aged about 30, had a record
of theft and violence, the official said on condition of anonymity
because the investigation was ongoing. His motive was not yet clear, the
official added.
Mayor Estrosi told BFM television that a possible accomplice had been detained.
has been on high alert since the attacks in the Paris region by three
Islamic extremists that left 20 people dead, including the gunmen. More
than 10,000 soldiers have been deployed around the country to protect
sensitive locations, including major shopping areas, synagogues, mosques
and transit hubs.
Earlier Tuesday, French authorities arrested
seven men and a woman suspected of involvement in a network to send
fighters to join Islamic extremists in Syria.

A police officer collects clues after an attacker with a knife hidden in
his bag attacked three soldiers on an anti-terror patrol in front of a
Jewish community centre. Photo / AP

Interior Minister
Bernard Cazeneuve said those arrested in the Paris and Lyon areas are
not suspected of links to the Jan. 7-9 attacks.
Police are trying
to thwart new violence and find possible accomplices to three radical
Islamic gunmen who attacked a kosher grocery and newspaper Charlie
Hebdo. The men claimed allegiance to extremists in the Mideast.
of those arrested had traveled to Syria and returned in December 2014, a
French official said, though it was unclear whether they joined the
Islamic State group or another group.
The network began sending
French fighters to Syria in May 2013, and at least one of them was
killed there, the official said. Other members of the network are still
in Syria.
The group did not appear to be involved in any
particular plot, or linked to any other networks already broken up in
France in recent months, said the official, who was not authorized to be
publicly identified discussing security matters.
France has seen hundreds of homegrown radicals join extremists abroad, most linked to the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq.
said recent atrocities by the Islamic State group — including the
killing of a Japanese hostage — “only strengthen the government’s
determination to fight every day and every hour.”
authorities have come under criticism for being overzealous in cracking
down on potential threats since the attacks, arresting dozens for
comments seen as defending terrorism and notably questioning an
8-year-old boy.

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