PARIS | Almost six years after the attack on Charlie Hebdo, a stabbing attack left two injured on Friday in Paris near the former premises of the satirical weekly, in the midst of the January 2015 attacks, and a “suspect” was quickly arrested by the police.
A first report from the police headquarters reported four injured, including two in “absolute urgency”, before being revised downwards.
The suspect was arrested by the police near the Place de la Bastille, not far from the former premises of the weekly targeted by a bloody jihadist attack in January 2015 and which has since moved to an undisclosed location. A second person was taken into custody, AFP learned from a judicial source.
A security perimeter has been established around the former premises of Charlie Hebdo for a “suspicious package”, added the prefecture.
The anti-gang brigade has been mobilized and the prefecture's central laboratory is going there, the police headquarters said, urging them to “avoid the area”. A crisis unit was opened at the Ministry of the Interior, where Minister Gerald Darmanin and Prime Minister Jean Castex were to go “urgently”.
Five schools housing thousands of students were also confined within the perimeter, the Paris rectorate told AFP.
The rue Nicolas Appert, where the satirical magazine used to be, is blocked, with a dozen armed police officers deployed on the spot, noted an AFP journalist.
“Two colleagues were smoking cigarettes at the bottom of the building, in the street. I heard screams. I went to the window and saw one of my colleagues, stained with blood, being pursued by a man with a machete in the street, ”testified an employee of the First Lines Agency installed in this street.
“Around noon, we went for a lunch break at the restaurant. Arriving, the boss started to shout “go, go”, there is an attack … We left running to lock ourselves up and stay inside our shop with four customers ”, told AFP Hassani Erwan, 23, a hairdresser located nearby.
“Extremely shocked by the murderous attack near the former premises of #CharlieHebdo, in a district of Paris which has already paid a heavy price for terrorist violence”, reacted on Twitter the president of the Île-de-France region Valérie Pécresse.
This attack comes as the editorial staff of Charlie Hebdo has come under new threats since the weekly republished cartoons of Muhammad on September 2, for the opening of the trial, scheduled until November 10, of the January attacks 2015.
After a short suspension of the trial, the hearing resumed without any mention by the special Assize Court of Paris of this attack, according to an AFP journalist.
Earlier this week, Charlie Hebdo's human resources director, Marika Bret, was evicted from her home because of threats deemed serious.
Following these threats, the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin had asked that “we can reassess the threats weighing on journalists and Charlie Hebdo collaborators”.
A hundred media (newspapers, magazines, television channels and radio stations published in reaction Wednesday an open letter calling on the French to mobilize in favor of freedom of expression.
On January 7, 2015, the Kouachi brothers attacked the Charlie Hebdo editorial staff with a weapon of war, murdering 12 people there, including historical cartoonists Cabu and Wolinski, before fleeing.
Their murderous journey had ended in a printing press in Dammartin-en-Goële, in the great Paris suburbs, where they had entrenched themselves before being killed in an assault by GIGN, the intervention group of the French gendarmerie.