France arrests four people of Pakistani descent after attack on former Charlie Hebdo offices

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French authorities have charged and detained four Pakistanis suspected of links to a meat cleaver attack by a compatriot outside the former offices of the weekly Charlie Hebdo.
The attack then injured two people.

According to AFP, the four suspect men were in contact with the assailant. They are suspected of having learned of the aggressor’s plot and of having instigated him to carry it out.

Three of them were charged on Friday with participation in a terrorist plot and remanded in custody. The fourth had already been charged on Wednesday.

The news of the charges comes two days after a Paris court convicted 13 accomplices of the jihadist gunmen who slaughtered Charlie Hebdo staff in January 2015.

The magazine had reprinted cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in early September – perhaps to mark the start of this trial.

Three weeks later, a Pakistani man injured two people outside the weekly’s former offices, hacking them with a cleaver.

The assailant, named Zaheer Hassan Mahmoud, was arrested after the September attack on terrorism charges and remains in detention. He told investigators that prior to the attack, he had watched “videos from Pakistan” regarding the satirical magazine’s decision to repost the cartoons.

On October 16, a young Chechen refugee beheaded Professor Samuel Paty, who had shown some of the cartoons to his students.

Less than two weeks later, three people were killed when a young Tunisian recently arrived in Europe embarked on a stabbing frenzy at a church in the Mediterranean city of Nice.

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