UPDATE: 2:29 p.m. EST -- The person who apparently waged a failed terror attack late Thursday morning at a Paris police station has been identified as Sallah Ali, according to a report from Agence France-Presse. Ali's identity was confirmed from his fingerprints, as the Moroccan-born homeless man had previously been convicted for theft.
Hours after Ali's death, the city slowly returned to a sense of normalcy, with public transportation resuming, but schools remained in lockdown mode out of an apparent abundance of caution. The Paris prosecutor's office also confirmed it planned on framing its investigation around an act of terror.
— Sputnik (@SputnikInt) January 7, 2016
Ali reportedly approached a police station while wielding a butcher knife and wearing what apparently appeared to be a belt or vest laced with explosives before he yelled out, "Allahu Akbar," an Arabic phrase increasingly associated Islamic extremism even though it is translated as "God is great."
Police shot Ali dead on the scene before finding a handwritten piece of paper on him that featured ISIS' black flag symbol, prompting a French law enforcement official who requested anonymity because he was not allowed to speak publicly on the matter to say it was "more likely terrorism."
The attempted attack came exactly one year after the fatal terror attacks in Paris that targeted the editorial offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo for how publication depicted the Prophet Muhammad, a holy figure in Islam. Paris had recently begun to heal from yet another terror attack late last year, including a coordinated series of bombings and shootings across the city that left more than 100 people dead Nov. 13, 2015.
UPDATE: 12:23 p.m. EST -- A foiled attack Thursday on a Paris police station was attempted in retribution for French airstrikes in Syria, French newspaper L’Express reported. The assailant, who allegedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” before running toward police and trying to enter the station, wanted to avenge Syrian deaths, a source close to the investigation told L’Express.
France significantly stepped up its role in the anti-ISIS airstrikes led by the U.S., following terror attacks late last year in Paris that left at least 130 people dead. In that instance, the assailants who launched a coordinated series of attacks across the city Nov. 13, 2015, were linked to the Islamic State militant group.
UPDATE: 11:35 a.m. EST -- The piece of paper found on the armed man who was killed Thursday while attempting to enter a police station in Paris was handwritten in Arabic and pledged allegiance to the leader of the Islamic State militant group, according to a tweet from a journalist for French news outlet BFMTV. While the wording of the statement was not immediately available, Alexandra Gonzalez tweeted that the writing on praised Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
The identification of the suspect was not immediately available and also carried a cell phone in addition to the piece of paper and a butcher's knife.
UPDATE: 10:29 a.m. EST -- The armed man who was shot and killed Thursday by Paris law enforcement while attempting to enter a police station there was carrying a piece of paper that featured symbol associated with the Islamic State militant group, according to a press release issued from the office of the Paris prosecutor.
_ URGENT PARIS L'homme à la Goutte d'Or avait le drapeau de Daesh dessiné sur un papier (parquet) pic.twitter.com/pjWq6XPAp5
— infos140 (@infos140) January 7, 2016
The suspect, who has yet to be identified, was carrying a knife fashioned after a meat cleaver and was carrying "a piece of paper with the ISIS flag," the press release said in part.
The full translated statement follows below:
Today at 11:30 an individual carrying a weapon similar to a butcher's cleaver and a fake explosive device arrived in front of the police station of the 18th arrondissement. He showed his weapon and shouted "allah akbar" before being shot by police in front of the station. The identity of the individual is not yet known. A cell phone and a piece of paper with the ISIS flag were found on his body, along with a handwritten statement in Arabic. Under these conditions the investigation is still ongoing, under public authority for attempted assassination of people in a public office in relation with a terrorist plot. Under the authority of the counter-terrorism section of the Paris office of the prosecution, in cooperation with the head of police (SAT) and the general directorate for interior security (DGSI).
UPDATE: 10:09 a.m. EST -- Investigators do not believe other individuals were involved in a possibly attempted attack at a police station in Paris Thursday, the French Interior Ministry said, the Telegraph reported. The individual, who reportedly carried a knife and wore a fake suicide vest, was killed by police. Public transportation resumed in the area around the police station after two metro lines and some bus services were disrupted following the midday attack.
The incident in Paris that left one man dead Thursday after he attempted to enter a police station while shouting an Arabic phrase is being investigated as an act of terrorism, authorities say. The suspect, who was armed with a knife and wearing what was later determined to be a fake explosive garment, allegedly yelled the words, “Allahu Akbar,” which is Arabic for “God is great,” a phrase often shouted before Islamic militants launch suicide attacks.
The entire episode is "more likely terrorism," a French law enforcement official who requested anonymity because he was not allowed to speak publicly on the matter told the Associated Press. The police shooting took place just hours after President François Hollande’s speech in remembrance of the victims who died exactly one year ago in the deadly attacks on the editorial offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
A “terrorist threat” will continue to linger in France, Hollande told police forces Thursday before the attack at the police station took place. He called for heightened vigilance and surveillance to forestall the radicalization of the country’s citizens who have joined or are contemplating joining Islamic militant groups, such as ISIS.
— Anna Polonyi (@akilincs) January 7, 2016
“We must be able to force these people — and only these people — to fulfill certain obligations and if necessary to put them under house arrest … because they are dangerous,” the French president said, reported the Washington Times.
In addition to sporting what turned out to be a false suicide vest or belt, the suspect in Thursday’s attack, who was not immediately identified, had a bag taped to his body with an electrical wire hanging off his coat, according to French news outlet BFMTV.
After being shot, the suspect's body was lying on the sidewalk while a robotic device approached him in an apparent attempt to detect any explosive devices, or to rule out any other threat.