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Paris stabbing suspect pledged allegiance to ISIS, was released after separate terror plot

Pedestrians walk past flowers where a tourist was stabbed to death on the eve, near the Eiffel Tower (background), in Paris, on December 3, 2023. A person known to the French authorities as a radical Islamist with mental health troubles stabbed a German-Filipino tourist to death and wounded two people in central Paris on December 2, 2023 before being arrested, officials said.
Pedestrians walk past flowers where a tourist was stabbed to death on the eve, near the Eiffel Tower (background), in Paris, on December 3, 2023. A person known to the French authorities as a radical Islamist with mental health troubles stabbed a German-Filipino tourist to death and wounded two people in central Paris on December 2, 2023 before being arrested, officials said. | Dimitar Dilkoff/AFP via Getty Images

The man arrested in connection with a stabbing attack near the Eiffel Tower in Paris over the weekend that left a German-Filipino citizen dead and two others injured was previously imprisoned for a separate terror plot and tracked for suspected radicalization. 

Armand Rajabpour-Miyandoab, a French national born in 1997 to Iranian parents just outside of Paris, was identified as the assailant in Saturday's attack, French prosecutor Jean-François Ricard said during a news conference Sunday.

French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told reporters Saturday that the suspect was released from prison in 2020 after serving four years for another plotted attack in 2016, adding that the suspect chanted "Allahu Akbar" during Saturday's attack.

Darmanin noted that the suspect was undergoing psychiatric treatment, tracked for potential Islamic radicalization and included on a terror watch list.

"This person was ready to kill others," Darmanin said, according to The Associated Press

Ricard said that Rajabpour-Miyandoab had shown "persistent radicalization" and was in contact with extremists responsible for other terror attacks in France. Ricard said that Rajabpour-Miyandoab recorded a video posted to X before carrying out the attack in which he pledged allegiance to the Islamic State. 

"In this video, he swore allegiance to the Islamic State and expressed his support to jihadists ... in Africa, Iraq, Syria, the Sinai ... Yemen or Pakistan," Ricard said, according to AFP

The video was published from a recently opened account that also posted about Hamas and the war in Gaza, Ricard added.  

Darmanin said that the suspect told investigators that he opposed Muslims being killed in "Afghanistan and Palestine" and also claimed France is an "accomplice" to Israel's military actions in Gaza following the Oct. 7 Hamas terror attack that killed 1,200 people. 

The victims include a 23-year-old German-Filipino man, a 66-year-old British citizen and a 60-year-old French national.

The attack began with the stabbing of the German tourist, followed by assaults on the British and French victims with a hammer. A taxi driver intervened, potentially saving further lives. Police used a taser to subdue and arrest the suspect.

As the suspect was living with his parents in the Essonne region south of Paris, Ricard said his mother reported concerns about her son's behavior last month. But authorities couldn't find any violation that would warrant a second prosecution.  

Three individuals close to the suspect have been taken into custody for questioning.

High-ranking French officials, including Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne and President Emmanuel Macron, have strongly condemned the attack. German Interior Minister Nancy Faeser also denounced the incident, labeling it an abominable crime.

Health Minister Aurélien Rousseau also highlighted the attacker's mental health issues, noting a mix of ideology, influenceability and psychiatric problems. 

The incident has raised questions about the adequacy of surveillance and public safety, especially in light of the upcoming 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris. France has experienced several attacks by Islamist extremists in recent years, including the November 2015 attacks in Paris claimed by the Islamic State.

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