When questioned by investigators, the prime suspect admitted leading the attack and said he was looking to target Charlie Hebdo because of the cartoons, according to an official close to the investigation who has not been allowed to be named publicly. , discussing an ongoing investigation.The suspect was arrested a month ago for carrying a screwdriver, but was not on police radar for Islamic radicalization, Home Secretary Gerald Darmanin said. He said the screwdriver was considered a weapon, but didn’t explain why.
The suspect arrived in France three years ago as an unaccompanied minor, apparently from Pakistan, but his identity was still being verified, the minister said.
Seven others were arrested following Friday’s attack, but one was released, the official said. Five of them were detained in the Paris suburb of Pantin, in a residence where the suspect allegedly lived.
The two people injured in Friday’s attack were a woman and a man working at documentary production company First Lines who had gone out for a smoke break. The co-founder of the company, Luc Hermann, told the France-Info channel that they remained hospitalized on Saturday, but their condition was “reassuring”.
Prime Minister Jean Castex, visiting the Paris police headquarters on Saturday, pledged to step up the fight against terrorism, affirming that “the enemies of the republic will not win”.
Home Secretary admitted security was lacking on the street where Charlie Hebdo was once headquartered, and ordered special protection for all “symbolic sites,” noting in particular Jewish sites around the Yom Kippur holiday this week-end. A Jewish grocery store was targeted days after the Charlie Hebdo newsroom massacre, in what authorities say were coordinated attacks.