In this case, a better description might be “ISIS terrorist wannabe.” Paris police killed a lone man with a knife and what turned out to be a fake bomb outside of a police station earlier today, and rapidly cleared the area, an effort this video from a French journalist captures. In the end, though, the man had only a knife and some amateurish ISIS propaganda on him:
The attack attempt comes on the first anniversary of the massacre in the Charlie Hebdo offices, NBC News notes:
A knife-wielding man shot dead by Paris police on Thursday was carrying paper with an ISIS flag on it as well as a claim of responsibility, according to the Paris prosecutor.
The incident came as France marked the one-year anniversary of the deadly Charlie Hebdo terror attacks.
The prosecutor’s office said a terrorism investigation has been opened into the incident, which took place outside the Goutte d’Or police station in the 18th arrondissement.
The suspect was carrying a butcher’s knife and shouted “Allahu akbar” — or “God is greatest” — before he was shot dead by police, according to a statement from the prosecutor’s office.
It said a piece of paper with the ISIS flag and a claim handwritten in Arabic were found on the suspect, along with a cellphone. The suspect’s identity has not yet been confirmed, the statement added.
The BBC is reporting that the knife in question was a “meat cleaver,” which has overtones of the London beheading of a British soldier in May 2013. Prosecutors in Paris have already opened a terror investigation:
The Paris prosecutor’s office says it is opening a terrorism investigation after a man carrying a butcher’s knife and wearing fake explosives showed up at a police station in northern Paris and was killed by police.
The statement Thursday from the Paris prosecutor said the man’s body was found with a cell phone and a piece of paper with an emblem of the Islamic State group and a claim of responsibility written in Arabic. The statement did not provide more details about the claim.
Given the facts as presented in the early going — which are subject to change, of course — the terrorist motive seems pretty clear. The planning and preparation for it looks decidedly more amateurish than the previous attacks in Paris, though. It could possibly have been a decoy to draw resources away from a real target, as seen in the November attacks, but there doesn’t appear to have been any other attacks launched. That makes this look like an ISIS supporter acting on his own with no resources to do anything but kill the first couple of people he contacted, but … why do that in front of a police station, where the response would be fastest and strongest? Perhaps this was a lame attempt at martyrdom, or just someone who wanted to commit suicide by cop, but the latter wouldn’t explain the ISIS propaganda that he carried.
This is a strange incident, to be sure. Perhaps later developments might shed more light on a rational plot, but for the moment, it’s difficult to see any.