La Chapelle-sur-Erdre (France) (AFP)
French police on Friday arrested a man suspected of seriously injuring a policewoman in a stabbing in western France, with security forces at their wit’s end after a series of attacks on their ranks over the years. last months.
The suspect, still armed, was on the run after the La Chapelle-sur-Erdre attack near the city of Nantes, and 80 police officers were dispatched to pursue him, a police source said.
BFMTV reported that the man had taken the police officer’s service weapon before fleeing. A source close to the investigation said his injuries were life threatening.
Three French gendarmes were injured – hand and arm – during the operation which led to the arrest of the suspect, authorities said.
Home Secretary Gerald Darmanin was on his way to the scene, his ministry said. He said on Twitter that the arrested individual was suspected of having carried out the attack.
Students in primary and secondary schools in the region have been kept indoors, a city official told AFP.
La Chapelle-sur-Erdre is a small town of 20,000 inhabitants just north of Nantes, near the French Atlantic coast.
# photo1 The attack came the same day Justice Minister Eric Dupond-Moretti called on French judges to be “firm” in the face of those convicted of attacks on police forces.
All cases of violence of this type should be brought before a criminal court, he said in a note to the investigating judges seen by AFP.
– Series of attacks –
French police have demanded better protection and tougher penalties for attacks against them after a series of attacks in recent months that have shocked the country.
Earlier this month, Constable Eric Masson was shot dead while investigating the activities of a known drug trafficking site in the southern city of Avignon.
Masson’s death came after the murder on April 23 of Stephanie Monferme, a police employee stabbed to death in the town of Rambouillet, near Paris, during the latest jihadist attack in France.
There was no immediate indication that the French authorities intended to open a terrorist investigation into Friday’s attack. Nantes prosecutors could not immediately comment.
Several attacks over the past year have rekindled concerns about the spread of radical Islam in France as well as immigration.
In September, a Pakistani man injured two people with a meat cleaver outside the former offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo which had printed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
# photo2On October 16, a young Chechen refugee beheaded Professor Samuel Paty who had shown some of the cartoons to his students.
And on October 29, three people were killed when a newly arrived Tunisian embarked on a stabbing frenzy at a church in the Mediterranean city of Nice.
In the most serious recent attack on French police, three policemen and a police employee were stabbed to death in October 2019 by a fellow computer scientist who was himself shot dead.
It was later found out that he was interested in radical Islam.
These attacks came after massacres by Islamist extremists from 2015 onwards that began with the massacre of staff at Charlie Hebdo offices in January this year.
In France’s deadliest peacetime atrocity, 130 people were killed and 350 were injured when suicide bombers and Islamist gunmen attacked the Stade de France, bars and restaurants in central Paris and the Bataclan concert hall in November 2015.
And in 2016, a man crashed into a truck in a July 14 crowd in Nice, killing 86 people.
A few weeks earlier, two police officers had been stabbed to death at their home near Paris by a man claiming allegiance to the Islamic State group.
© 2021 AFP