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What we know so far about the deadly knife and hammer attack in Paris

A German tourist died and two others - including a British holidaymaker - died in attack in Paris, carried out by a Frenchman who had sworn allegiance to Islamic State. Here's the latest.

What we know so far about the deadly knife and hammer attack in Paris
French Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne hosts a security meeting the day after one person was killed and two others wounded in a knife attack. Photo by JULIEN DE ROSA / AFP

At around 9pm on Saturday an attack took place in the 15th arrondissement of Paris, close to the Eiffel Tower in the city centre.

The single attacker, who was heard to shout Allahu Akbar (God is Great) during the attack, killed one person with a knife and attacked two others with a hammer.

He was tasered and arrested by police, and remains in custody. Three people “close to” the attacker are also held.

Here’s what we know so far about the attack;

The victims

The man who died is a 23-year-old German tourist, who was born in the Philippines. He received knife wounds to his head, shoulder and back and died a short time later. His girlfriend was physically unharmed, but extremely shocked.

A taxi driver intervened and the attacker ran off and later attacked two other people with a hammer, a short distance away from the first attack on the other side of the Seine.

One of the hammer attack victims was also a tourist – a 66-year-old British man – while the other was a 60-year-old Frenchman in his 60s. Their injuries are not life-threatening.

The attacker

The attacker is now in custody, he is a 26-year-old Frenchman, named in French media as Armand Rajabpour-Miyandoab who was born in the Paris suburb of Neuilly-sur-Seine to Iranian parents.  

He was known to security services and in 2016 was jailed for four years for a failed terror attack plot – a knife attack in the Paris business district of La Défense. Since his release from prison he had been ‘fiché S’ – on a terror watchlist – because of his radical Islamist views.

He had sworn allegiance to the Islamic State group in a video posted to social media, French anti-terrorist prosecutors said on Sunday.

Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said the man also had mental health troubles. French media report that he had been diagnosed with psychosis but in the summer of 2022 he had stopped treatment.

“In late October 2023, the mother of the attacker reported concerns about her son’s behaviour, as he had turned in on himself. But there was nothing allowing for a new prosecution,” senior prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard told reporters.

After his arrest, he told police he could not stand Muslims being killed in “Afghanistan and Palestine”, according to the minister.

The terror threat

France has been on the highest level of terror alert since October when teacher Dominique Bernard was stabbed to death in Arras, northern France, by a former pupil who was also on a terror watchlist because of his radical Islamist views.

Tensions have been high ever since the October 7th Hamas attack and the subsequent Israeli bombardment of Gaza – France is home to the largest Jewish and Muslim communities in Europe.

The country has suffered several attacks by Islamist extremists, including the November 2015 suicide and gun attacks in Paris claimed by the Islamic State group in which 130 people were killed.

There had been a relative lull in recent years, even as officials have warned that the threat remains.

More recent attacks have tended to be unsophisticated – a single attacker armed with a knife, often carried out by troubled young men who have been radicalised online.

Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne hosted an emergency security meeting on Sunday, after the attack. 

The reaction

“We will not give in to terrorism,” Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne wrote on X, formerly Twitter, after the attack.

President Emmanuel Macron said he was sending his condolences to the family of the German killed in the “terrorist attack”. He thanked security forces for their quick arrest of the suspected attacker and said justice should be served “in the name of the French people”.

Health Minister Aurelien Rousseau told broadcaster France 3 that the wounded victims suffered only “superficial (physical) traumas, but of course psychological traumas that will be enormous”, AFP reported.

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz wrote on X that he was “devastated” by the attack, saying that “our thoughts are with the wounded, their families and friends”.

And Germany’s Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said that “the Islamist knife attack on a young man near the Eiffel Tower in Paris is an abominable crime. Our thoughts go to the family and friends of the victim, and to the others wounded in this terrible act,” speaking to the Funke media group.

The French government is currently trying to pass an Immigration bill which would – among other things – make it easier to expel radicalised foreigners from the country. This part of the bill was brought in response to several recent attacks – including the killing of Dominique Bernard in October and Samuel Paty in 2022 – that were carried out by foreign-born Islamists.

In this case, however, the attacker is a Frenchman who was born in France.

Member comments

  1. Why on earth was this man released from prison, when it was know that he was a serious security risk?? How many more high-security risk ex-prisoners are currently roaming around France? And how many of them are on their way to the UK via dinghies from Calais, if not already there? If our governments don’t get a grip, Europe as we know it will not survive.

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Eiffel Tower to reopen Sunday as strike ends

France's Eiffel Tower that had been closed for five days by a strike will reopen Sunday after the monument's management announced a deal had been struck with unions.

Eiffel Tower to reopen Sunday as strike ends

The stoppage since Monday at one of the world’s best-known tourist sites was the second within two months in protest at what unions say was insufficient investment.

The tower’s operator SETE said it had reached agreement with the unions on Saturday “under which the parties will regularly monitor the company’s business model, investment in works and revenue through a body that will meet every six months”.

With an aim to balance its books by 2025, both sides also agreed to see an investment of some 380 million euros up to 2031 toward works and maintenance of the tower, the statement said.

SETE extended apologies to visitors caught in the strike action, which resulted in the loss of some 100,000 admissions.

The Eiffel Tower booked a shortfall of around 120 million euros ($130 million) during the Covid pandemic in 2020 and 2021.

SETE has since received a recapitalisation of 60 million euros, which unions say is insufficient given that major maintenance work is needed, including a fresh paint job.

Visitor numbers dropped sharply during Covid due to closures and travel restrictions, but recovered to 5.9 million in 2022 and 6.3 million last year.

The masterpiece by architect Gustave Eiffel has been repainted 19 times since it was built for the 1889 World Fair.