On Thursday in Trappes, a suburb to the west of Paris, a man fatally stabbed two people and injured one other person.
“After the attack, he ran into a house to hide. He left shortly afterward and threatened police before being neutralized,” French police told CNN. The attacker was also killed.
The police have not revealed what the attacker’s motives may have been in perpetrating this crime. There is evidence that it was a family dispute, as the two people killed as a result of this attack were the attacker’s mother and sister. However, there is also evidence that the attacker had ties to ISIS. When French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb addressed reporters about the attack, he revealed the attacker’s history of mental instability and that this may have allowed him to be swayed by ISIS.
“… the attacker had serious psychiatric problems… [who] was known for being a terror apologist…. He was someone who was unstable rather than committed to terrorism and who might respond to a call from ISIS.”
#Trappes : le profil de l'assaillant est plus celui d'un déséquilibré aux antécédents psychiatriques que celui d'un engagé répondant aux ordres d'une organisation terroriste.— Gérard Collomb (@gerardcollomb) August 23, 2018
Je veux redire ma gratitude et ma confiance aux forces de sécurité et secours mobilisées. pic.twitter.com/oW8HJDU5Pz
Collomb first tweeted, asking French citizens to help police by staying away from the neighborhood of the attack and to respect security perimeters set for their protection. His next tweet, after the the attacker had been immobilized, said, “My first thoughts are with the victims and their loved ones. I want to salute the actions and the exemplary mobilization of our police forces. They are already investigating to establish the circumstances of this tragedy.”
The government was aware of the attacker’s susceptibility to ISIS, as he was already in the File for the Prevention of Terrorist Radicalization, a targeted watch list which focuses on would-be jihadists.
Via its Amaq media outlet, ISIS quickly claimed responsibility for the attack, however, there has been no conclusive evidence that this is true. It is suspected that ISIS may have claimed this attack as a way to bolster its supporters in the wake of continued military defeats — ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi released an audio message to their followers on Wednesday in order to issue a rallying cry in this vein.
The French government may have other ideas for the motive behind the knife attack, however; the anti-terror Paris prosecution office has still not opened an investigation into the attack. This would be a customary step if the government believed there was a strong indication of a link to terrorism.
The third victim of the attack who was seriously injured was not a family member, Collomb concluded, and police would continue to investigate the attack.