A man stabbed to death his sister and mother in the west Parisian suburb of Trappes on Thursday morning and seriously injured at least one more person. Although the Islamic State claimed the incident, authorities are not calling it an act of terrorism.
French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb described the man as a “criminal who had significant psychiatric problems” and stated that the attack was likely not an act of terrorism.
“It was more a man who was disturbed than someone responding to orders from a terrorist organization,” he told reporters from the scene of the incident.
The attacker was killed by police after he came out of his mother’s house wielding a knife and ignored shouted warnings, he added. An investigation into his motives is still underway.
The Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency claimed responsibility for the attack, writing that the attacker was one of the “fighters for the Islamic State.” It asserted that the attack was carried out “in response to calls to target the coalition,” referring to the countries fighting the Islamic State.
Located about 16 miles away from the center of Paris, Trappes has long been a recruitment ground for supporters of the Islamic State and other militant groups. French media reported that the man had been on the country’s national security watch list since 2016 over defending a terrorist attack, but it appears that Thursday’s incident was a family dispute.
Islamic State’s Thursday claim was issued before authorities confirmed that the attacker’s two victims were his relatives. If no terrorism link is found, it would fit into a string of misleading claims issued by the Amaq agency, as the Islamic State has faced significant setbacks over the last two years, losing most of the territory it previously held.
The attack came just hours after Islamic State leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi issued his first message in almost a year to mark the Islamic Eid al-Adha holiday and encouraged his followers to carry out lone-wolf attacks in Europe and North America, and “stab their bodies.”
France has been hit by a string of high profile terrorist attacks, including on a prominent satirical magazine and a rampage through Paris in November 2015. A total of 230 people have been killed in the past three years, with most attacks carried out by French or other European nationals inspired by the Islamic State.
(c) 2018, The Washington Post · Rick Noack