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French investigators not ruling out any motives in Paris police attack probe

Philippe Wojazer, Reuters | French police secure the area in front of the Paris Police headquarters in Paris, October 3, 2019.

A day after a deadly knife attack at the Paris police headquarters, investigators on Friday said they were not ruling out any hypothesis in their probe into what motivated the assailant to kill four people, including three police officers.

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A 45-year-old IT assistant killed three police officers and an administrative worker inside the Paris police headquarters in the heart of the French capital Thursday before he was shot dead by an officer.

"No hypothesis is being ruled out at this stage," Paris police chief Didier Lallement said at a news conference. He said he would not respond to further questions on the matter.

French media reported that the attacker had converted to Islam 18 months ago. But FRANCE 24’s Clovis Casali, who has been covering this story since Thursday, warned, “We need to be careful, this does not mean the attacker was radicalised in any way. Authorities are keen not to stoke any fears, not to speculate. They want to stick to the facts.”

Officials have not said anything about a possible motive for the attack and said they were still trying to discover if there was a terrorism link.

The attack took place on the historic Île de la Cité island in the River Seine, close to the Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris.

Wife of attacker questioned

The wife of the assailant, who has not been named, was taken in for questioning Thursday night after the attack. “We have just learnt that [authorities] will extend that for another 24 hours,” said Casali.

“She has already said he said some incoherent words the night before the attack, that he was also hearing voices,” he added, noting that police sources revealed the attacker had a minor hearing impairment.

Thursday’s attack came as thousands of French police officers marched in Paris earlier this week to protest against low wages, long hours and increasing suicides in their ranks.

In the past four years, the French capital has been rocked by violent attacks resulting in mass casualties.

Coordinated bombings and shootings by Islamist militants in November 2015, at the Bataclan theatre and other locations around Paris, killed 130 people in the deadliest attacks in France since World War Two.

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