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France: 7 in custody after stabbing linked to Charlie Hebdo

Seven people were in custody Saturday after a stabbing outside the former Paris offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, including the suspected assailant, authorities said.

Counterterrorism authorities are investigating what authorities called an Islamic extremist attack linked to Charlie Hebdo, which lost 12 employees in an al-Qaida attack in 2015. The weekly, which routinely mocks religious and other prominent figures, recently republished caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that outraged many Muslims.

The suspected assailant in Friday’s stabbing had been arrested a month ago for carrying a screwdriver but was not on police radar for Islamic radicalization, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said. He said the screwdriver was considered a weapon, but did not explain why.

A man is tended to after being injured in a knife attack in Paris, Friday, Sept. 25, 2020. French terrorism authorities are investigating the knife attack that wounded at least two people Friday near the former offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, authorities said. A suspect has been arrested. (David Cohen via AP)

The suspect arrived in France three years ago as an unaccompanied minor, apparently from Pakistan, but his identity was still being verified, the minister said.

Seven others were detained in the aftermath of Friday’s attack, but one has been released, according to judicial officials. Five of those in custody were detained in the Paris suburb of Pantin in a residence where the suspect is believed to have lived, a police official said.

Two people were wounded in Friday’s attack, a woman and a man working at a documentary production company who had stepped outside for a smoke break.

A meat cleaver that was use in a knife attack is left on the ground in Paris, Friday, Sept. 25, 2020. French terrorism authorities are investigating the knife attack that wounded at least two people Friday near the former offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, authorities said. A suspect has been arrested. (David Cohen via AP)

The interior minister conceded that security was lacking on the street where Charlie Hebdo was once headquartered, and ordered special protection for all “symbolic sites,” noting in particular Jewish sites around the Yom Kippur holiday this weekend. A Jewish grocery store was targeted days after the Charlie Hebdo newsroom massacre, in what authorities say were coordinated attacks.

A man is tended to after being injured in a knife attack in Paris, Friday, Sept. 25, 2020. French terrorism authorities are investigating the knife attack that wounded at least two people Friday near the former offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo in Paris, authorities said. A suspect has been arrested. (David Cohen via AP)