French officials say a man who is suspected of stabbing two people Friday in Paris has said he was targeting what he thought were the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo because it had recently republished cartoons featuring the Prophet Muhammad.
He was apparently unaware that the magazine had moved from that location, following a 2015 attack that killed 17 people.
The attacker, an 18-year-old Pakistani man who arrived in France three years ago as an unaccompanied minor, was identified as Hassan A, a source familiar with the investigation told the French new agency (AFP) on condition of anonymity.
AFP reported that the source said investigators were working to authenticate a video which appeared to show the suspect talking about carrying out the attack.
"We see him crying, chanting. He claims in advance his act by evoking the republication of the caricatures," the source said.
"It is a kind of manifesto, he announces he is going to act," the source said, adding that "it is not a claim of allegiance to an organization."
The suspect was born in the Pakistani town of Mandi Bahauddin. According to the source, he speaks a little French and needed a translator during questioning.
In an interview with France 2 television station, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said the attack was "clearly an act of Islamist terrorism."
On Sunday, Darmanin visited a synagogue and said more than 7,000 police and soldiers are protecting Jewish services as the Jewish holy day of Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement, begins.
“Because we know that Jews are particularly targeted by Islamist attacks,” Darmanin told reporters, “we should obviously protect them.”
Jean-Francois Ricard, France's counterterrorism prosecutor, said the attacker did not know the victims — a woman and a man from a documentary production company on a smoke break.
French police said on Saturday they had detained a person believed to be a former roommate of the man who attacked the people.
Late Friday police released a 33-year-old Algerian man who was a witness and had "chased the assailant," after the investigators corroborated the man’s account.
A terrorism trial for 14 people accused of being accomplices in the 2015 attack on the magazine is currently going on in Paris.
Charlie Hebdo angered many Muslims by publishing cartoons featuring the Prophet Muhammad, and ahead of the trial it recently reprinted some of the same cartoons.
Police recently moved the magazine’s head of human resources from her home after she was the target of death threats around the start of the trial.