The suspect is a 47-year-old man who would have been in contact with the attacker the day before the attack on the Notre-Dame basilica in the French Riviera city of Nice, according to a judicial official. The official was not allowed to be publicly named.
In an interview broadcast Friday with the Saudi channel Al-Arabiya, Issaoui’s mother said she was shocked by the events.
From the Tunisian province of Sfax, the mother, her eyes wet with tears, said she was surprised to learn that her son was in France when he called when he arrived and had no idea what ‘he foresaw. “You don’t know the French language, you don’t know anyone there, you’re going to live there alone, why, why did you go there? she said she told him over the phone at the time.
His brother told Al-Arabiya that Issaoui had informed the family that he would be sleeping outside the church and sent them a photo showing him at the cathedral where the attack took place. “He didn’t tell me anything,” he said. A neighbor said he knew the assailant when he was a mechanic and held various other odd jobs and showed no signs of radicalization.
The French counterterrorism prosecutor said the suspect is a Tunisian born in 1999 who reached the Italian island of Lampedusa, a key disembarkation point for migrants crossing boats from North Africa, on September 20 and surrendered in Bari, a port city in southern Italy. , October 9. We don’t know when he arrived in Nice.
The attack was the third in less than two months that French authorities have attributed to Muslim extremists, including the beheading of a teacher who showed caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in class after the images were reposted by the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
President Emmanuel Macron said he would immediately increase the number of soldiers deployed to protect schools and religious sites from around 3,000 to 7,000.
Charlton reported from Paris.