After the horrific shooting of police officers in Paris, details are finally emerging on the slain shooter. He has been identified as ISIS fighter Karim Cheurfi, also known as “Abu Yusuf al-Beljiki,” which translates to “Abu Yousuf the Belgian,” according to CBS News. This man was not only known to authorities as a terrorist, but had actually been imprisoned for violence toward police officers, which he exhibited on multiple occasions. According to Al Jazeera, ISIS has claimed responsibility for the shooting.
As reported by the Inquisitr, at least two gunmen opened fire on police officers on the famous Champs-Élysées boulevard in Paris, France. One officer was killed and two others were wounded in the Paris shooting before one of the shooters, Karim Cheurfi, was killed by authorities as he was running away. Karim used a Kalashnikov rifle, also known as an AK-47, and was specifically targeting police.
The Mirror reports that the 39-year-old killer had been sentenced to 20 years in a high security prison in 2003 after shooting at two officers and a third man two years earlier in Roissy-en-Brie. The 2001 shooting occurred after Karim had been caught by authorities in a stolen vehicle. The attacked officers were “grievously” harmed, according to authorities. Karim’s sentence was reduced following an appeals ruling in 2005, reports Le Parisien.
According to Le Parisien, the 2001 incident began when Karim Cheurfi, who was driving a stolen vehicle, hit a car. One of the passengers was an officer, who chased Cheurfi after he tried to flee the scene. Cheurfi then fired two bullets, seriously injuring the two men. He was captured and placed in custody. Two days later, Karim Cheurfi grabbed a gun from an officer who was taking him out of his cell, seriously wounding him after shooting the gun multiple times.
An investigation of Karim Cheurfi’s home revealed that he was in possession of guns and ammunition. He was also the registered owner of the grey Audi vehicle found near the scene of the crime. Cheurfi was born in France and lived in Chelles, a town outside of Paris, reports the Mirror.
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According to the Mirror, Karim Cheurfi had made threats to kill police using an instant messaging service called Telegram and had recently been in custody in Meaux for “trying to obtain weapons.” This information was provided by Audrey Goutard, police-crime specialist at the France 2 cable channel, who stated that Cheurfi said that he was looking for weapons with which he could murder police officers. The channel claimed that he was later released because he was not considered to be a threat.
The Daily Mail reports that Karim may have used the Telegram messaging service because of its strong encryption, a feature that makes the service popular for terrorist use. Telegram is very boastful of its security features and advertises its ability to broadcast messages to unlimited audiences and send text messages, files, and videos in large group messages of up to 5,000 participants.
Intelligence sources have stated that Karim Cheurfi was a known radical who was listed on the S-file, also known as state security. Being listed on this file means that Cheurfi must have been under surveillance.
— ✨Sydney Girl✨ (@kelliekelly23) April 20, 2017
Many on social media are wondering how a terrorist with such a storied history was able to be let out of police custody time and time again. These fatal mistakes undoubtedly allowed Cheurfi to successfully commit Thursday’s shooting. As terrorist attacks, bombings, truck killings, stabbings, and shootings become the norm in cities across Europe, many are wondering whether Karim Cheurfi’s Paris shooting was just another attack to be forgotten, or if it will finally be an impetus for policy changes to occur.
[Featured Image by Aurelien Meunier/Getty Images]