PARIS - French authorities have arrested three people in connection with the stabbing death of a police worker outside Paris Friday, as they explore possible terrorism motives of the assailant, who was killed by police.
Media report the three people detained include a father and two people who sheltered the 36-year-old Tunisian, who stabbed a police worker and mother of two Friday in the quiet town of Rambouillet, 60 kilometers from Paris.
Police shot the man dead. The police worker, who had been stabbed in the throat, died of her wounds. France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor said the assailant had made comments indicating a terror motive. He shouted “Allahu Akbar” or “God is great,” in Arabic before the stabbing, according to media reports.
The incident comes after France has weathered a string of attacks, including an attack in Paris last year, a beheading of a French schoolteacher in the suburbs for showing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, and the stabbing of three people at a church in the southern city of Nice, also by a Tunisian.
This latest assailant arrived in France illegally more than a decade ago, but eventually got residency papers according to a police source who spoke to the media. He had only recently moved to Rambouillet.
French President Emmanuel Macron said the country would never give in to Islamist terrorism in a tweet he posted Friday.
Visiting the stabbing site Friday, French Prime Minister Jean Castex echoed the president, saying the government was all the more determined to fight terrorism.
French police have been targeted in several past attacks.
Francois Bercani, senior member of a local police union in the Yvellines department, where Rambouillet is located, told France-Info radio that police were understaffed. He called for beefing up their numbers and more protection for police stations, saying police were being targeted as representatives of the French state.
France’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said security at police stations will be stepped up. Lawmakers are also finishing work on a bill pushed by Macron’s government to fight Islamist extremism.
Far-right leader Marine Le Pen, however, told French TV the government’s response was insufficient. She questioned why the Rambouillet suspect had legal papers.
Government officials have in turn accused Le Pen of politicizing the issue. She is considered Macron’s top opponent in next year’s presidential vote.