Thursday, January 7, 2016

Paris police shoot suspected suicide bomber after he attempted to attack police station

(INN) Police in Paris shot dead a knife-wielding terrorist who attempted to storm a police station Thursday, on the first anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo attack.

The man reportedly shouted "Allahu Akbar," before attempting to barge into the station, prompting police to open fire.

According to initial reports from the scene the man was wearing what appears to be a suicide bomb belt.

Bomb disposal units arrived at the scene and shortly afterwards determined that the suicide belt was a fake.

"On Thursday morning, a man attempted to attack a policeman at the reception of the police station before being hit by shots from the police," said interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet.

Explosives experts were deployed to the scene in the multi-ethnic Goutte d'Or district, close to the Gare du Nord international station, the source added.

The attempted attack took place in the French capital's 18th district, just minutes after President Francois Hollande gave a speech marking the anniversary of the Islamic terror attacks, in which he announced measures to bolster security forces.

In a sombre speech at Paris police headquarters, Hollande hinted at intelligence failings that might have allowed attacks to take place, as he called for all branches of the security services to cooperate more closely.

"Faced with these adversaries, it is essential that every service - police, gendarmerie, intelligence, military - work in perfect harmony, with the greatest transparency, and that they share all the information at their disposal," the president said.

Many of the attackers in both January's rampage and the massacre in November were known to French security services, having either traveled abroad to fight with terrorists or been prevented from doing so.

Hollande said that since the attack on Charlie Hebdo, nearly 200 people in France had been placed under travel restrictions to prevent them joining up with ISIS in Syria or Iraq.

Among changes set to be introduced in the wake of the November attacks are new guidelines allowing police to keep their weapons even when off-duty.

The president also reiterated his pledge to boost the number of police and armed gendarmes by 5,000.

The speech will be followed by a concert on Sunday to mark the one million people who poured on to the streets of Paris on January 11, 2015, in an outpouring of support for freedom of expression in the wake of the deaths of Charlie Hebdo's best-known cartoonists.