The terrorist who allegedly shouted “Allahu Akbar” during the attack in Strasbourg, France, in which he murdered at least two people and injured 13 others, has been on France’s “S” file terrorist watch list for three years, has served time in prison for armed robbery, and has been convicted 27 times in France, Germany, and Switzerland.
The Telegraph reports that Strasbourg prosecutor Rémy Heitz offered the foregoing information about the 29-year-old gunman, who escaped from authorities after the attack. Le Figaro reported that the terrorist has 20 previous convictions. French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said the terrorist’s extensive criminal record included his first conviction at the age of 13, adding that at the age of 10 the terrorist “already had behavior that fell under penal law.”
Deputy interior minister Laurent Nunez acknowledged that the terrorist may have fled to Germany, admitting, “That cannot be ruled out.” The Telegraph reports, “Border controls have been strengthened and more than 600 people, including police, troops and helicopters were on the heels of the attacker who had ‘sowed terror’ in the city.”
Der Spiegel reported that the terrorist had been in jail in Germany until 2017, but was then expelled to France. Prior to the attack, the terrorist had evaded police, who had gone to his home to arrest him for attempted murder after a botched armed robbery. The Guardian reported:
Laurent Nuñez, the secretary of state for the interior ministry, said the failed arrest might be one reason for the attack. Heitz said the man walked through several streets “at the heart of the Christmas market” shortly before 8pm. “All along this route he opened fire several times with a handgun and used a knife with which he seriously injured and killed. “Faced with four soldiers from Opération Sentinelle, he fired at them and was targeted back and was injured in the arm.”
France Info stated that the terrorist took a cab driver hostage, telling the driver he had “shot at soldiers and killed ten people.” The European Parliament, a few blocks from the attack, went into lockdown.
French president Emanuel Macron was slammed by some for the government’s failure to prevent the attack. Laurent Wauquiez, the Republicans party leader, stated, “How many terror attacks by those on ‘S’ watchlist do we have to suffer before adapting our law to the fight against terrorism. What are we waiting for to finally wage war to eradicate Islamic fundamentalism that has declared war on us?”
The Telegraph notes, “Christmas markets have been considered a terror target ever since the foiled terror attack in December 2000. The al-Qaeda plot, in which a truck bomb was due to be detonated beneath the steps of Strasbourg cathedral, next to the market, has been described as blueprint for would-be attackers … Security was stepped up at Christmas markets across Europe two years ago when a stolen lorry was driven into pedestrians in Berlin, killing 11 pedestrians and injuring 56.”
All soccer stadiums in the French first and second division will observe a minute of silence this weekend.