The Paris prosecutor Francois Molins, center, speaks with police officers after delivering a speech to say counterterrorism authorities are investigating after a knife attack that left at least two dead including the assailant in central Paris, Saturday May 12, 2018. Paris police officers evacuated people from some buildings in the Right Bank neighborhood after the attack, and bar patrons and opera-goers described surprise and confusion. (AP Photo/Thibault Camus)

French police question parents and friends of Paris attack suspect

Counterterrorism authorities are investigating after a knife attack left at least two dead including the assailant in central Paris

French police on Monday were questioning the parents and a friend of a 20-year-old man who attacked passers-by with a knife in Paris, amid questions about how France’s radical watch list is used.

Khamzat Azimov, a French citizen born in the Russian republic of Chechnya, killed one person and wounded four others in Saturday’s attack, before police fatally shot him. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility.

Azimov’s parents and a friend from the eastern city of Strasbourg were being detained by police. Under French law, people questioned in an investigation relating to alleged terrorism can be taken into custody for up to four days.

A judicial official said Monday the suspect was living in the northern 18th district of Paris with his family, which had previously lived in Strasbourg.

The official wasn’t authorized to speak publicly on the ongoing investigation.

Related: Paris stabbing spree

Related: Two killed, dozen hurt in French supermarket hostage-taking

Counterterrorism investigators want to know if the assailant had help or co-conspirators.

French authorities said the suspect was on a police watch list for radicalism, but he had a clean criminal record.

Conservative leader Laurent Wauquiez on Sunday criticized the government’s “blindness” and “inaction.” His Republicans party called on centrist President Emmanuel Macron to take measures to “preventively intern the most dangerous individuals” listed as radicalized.

Far-right leader Marine Le Pen asked in a tweet what the list was for if it wasn’t used to stop potential attackers.

French authorities have previously explained that the register, designed as a tool for intelligence services, contains the names of thousands of individuals suspected of being radicalized but who have yet to perform acts of terrorism.

French Interior minister Gerard Collomb will hold a meeting with France’s prefects in charge of defence and security later Monday.

Azimov obtained French nationality in 2010. He was born in the largely Muslim Russian republic of Chechnya, where extremism has long simmered. Chechens have been among the numerous foreign fighters in Syria and Iraq, some joining the Islamic State cause early in the fighting.

French media report the victim killed in the attack was a 29-year-old man identified only by his first name, Ronan, who was living in the 13th district of Paris. One of his neighbours told reporters he was a “very smiling” man, with a “great generosity.”

Sylvie Corbet, The Associated Press

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

B.C. declares state of emergency as more than 560 wildfires rage

This is only the fourth state of emergency ever issued during a fire season

Volunteers sought for weed pull at Summit Lake Provincial Park

Central Kootenay Invasive Species Society is looking for help next week

UPDATE: Search for missing Cranbrook woman enters third day

The search for a Cranbrook woman missing in the Jumbo Pass area is entering its third day.

Search for missing Cranbrook woman ongoing

Louise Baxter missing in Jumbo Pass area since Sunday

Average Canadian family spends 43% of income on taxes: study

Fraser Institute’s consumer report shows taxes accounting for larger chunk of income each year

B.C. company patents Sasquatch, the country’s first homegrown hops plant

Created by Hops Connect, Sasquatch hops are being grown commercially for the first time in B.C.

Farmers ponder impact of alternatives to pesticides being banned

The nicotine-based pesticides scientists have linked to a rising number of honey bee deaths will be phased out of use in Canada over a three year period starting in 2021.

Time to kick maverick Tory MP Maxime Bernier out of caucus, Scheer urged

Conservative MP Maxime Bernier is taking issue with Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s oft-repeated message of diversity in Canada, calling it a form of “radical multiculturalism.”

Thousands of police officers expected at regimental funeral in Fredericton

Two civilians were killed in a shooting in Fredericton that also claimed the lives of two police officers.

2 girls, hand-drawn map in hand, sneak out of B.C. home for adventure

The pair’s escape has transit police reminding commuters to report unusual behaviour

Ex-B.C. teachers’ union leader among latest pipeline protesters to get jail time

Twelve people have been sentenced for violating court order to stay away from Kinder Morgan terminal

B.C. not prepared for a Humboldt Broncos bus crash, group says

An air ambulance advocacy group wants an overhaul of B.C.’s emergency medical system in rural regions

Liberals look at creating federal holiday to mark legacy of residential schools

AFN National Chief Perry Bellegarde said day to recognize painful legacy would boost understanding

Most Read