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Police hunt across eastern France for Strasbourg Christmas market attacker

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Police hunt across eastern France for Strasbourg Christmas market attacker

By Vincent Kessler and John Irish

 

2018-12-12T172611Z_1_LYNXMPEEBB1LQ_RTROPTP_4_FRANCE-SECURITY.JPG

A French soldier stands guard near a closed wooden barrack shop at the traditional Christkindelsmaerik (Christ Child market) in front of the Cathedral the day after a shooting in Strasbourg, France, December 12, 2018. REUTERS/Christian Hartmann TPX IMAGES OF THE DAY

 

STRASBOURG, France (Reuters) - Police searched through eastern France on Wednesday for a man suspected of killing at least two people in a gun attack on a Christmas market in Strasbourg and who was known to have been religiously radicalised while in jail.

 

Witnesses told investigators the assailant cried out "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greater) as he launched his attack on the market, the Paris prosecutor said.

 

The prosecutor, Remy Heitz, also suggested the suspect may have chosen his target for its religious symbolism.

 

"Considering the target, his way of operating, his profile and the testimonies of those who heard him yell 'Allahu Akbar', the anti-terrorist police has been called into action," Heitz told a news conference.

 

Police issued a wanted poster for the suspect identifying him as Strasbourg-born Cherif Chekatt, 29, who is on an intelligence services watch list as a potential security risk.

 

An investigation had been opened into alleged murder with terrorist intent and suspected ties to terrorist networks with intent to commit crimes, Heitz said.

 

Two people were killed and a third person was brain-dead and being kept alive on life support, he said. Six other victims were fighting for their lives.

 

France raised its security threat to the highest alert level, strengthening controls on its border with Germany as elite commandos backed by helicopters hunted for the suspect.

 

French and German agents checked vehicles and public transport crossing the Rhine river, along which the Franco-German frontier runs, backing up traffic in both directions. Hundreds of French troops and police were taking part in the manhunt.

 

Prime Minister Edouard Philippe said an additional 1,800 soldiers would be put on anti-terror security patrols with a special focus on Christmas markets.

 

Sylvaine Jardin, director of the Porcus charcuterie, just metres from where the shooting took place struggled to hold back tears saying she needed to work so as not to think about what had happened.

 

"We can't let ourselves be submerged by fear, but we'll feel better when he is caught," she said, adding that traders had last year been given training and advice in preparation for a possible attack.

 

SERIAL CONVICT

The gunman struck at about 1900 GMT on Tuesday, just as the picturesque Christmas market in the historic city was shutting down.

 

He engaged in two gunfights with security forces as he evaded a police dragnet and bragged about his acts to the driver of a taxi that he commandeered, prosecutor Heitz said.

 

No one has yet claimed responsibility, but the U.S.-based Site intelligence group, which monitors jihadist websites, said Islamic State supporters were celebrating.

 

French and German security officials painted a portrait of Chekatt as a serial law-breaker who had racked up more than two dozen convictions in France, Germany and Switzerland, and served time in prison.

 

"It was during these spells in jail that we detected a radicalisation in his religious practices. But we there were never signs he was preparing an attack," Deputy Interior Minister Laurent Nunez said.

 

One German security source said the suspect was jailed in southern Germany from August 2016 to February 2017 for aggravated theft but was released before the end of his 27-month sentence so that he could be deported to France.

 

"He was banned from re-entering Germany at the same time", the security source in the state of Baden-Wuerttemberg said. "We don’t have any knowledge of any kind of radicalization."

 

BORDER CONTROLS

The attack took place at a testing time for President Emmanuel Macron, who is struggling to quell a month-long public revolt over high living costs that has spurred the worst public unrest in central Paris since the 1968 student riots.

 

The disclosure that Chekatt was on a security watchlist will raise questions over possible intelligence failures, though some 26,000 individuals suspected of posing a security risk to France are on the "S File" list.

 

Of these, about 10,000 are believed to have been radicalised, sometimes in fundamentalist Salafist Muslim mosques, in jail or abroad.

 

Police had raided the suspect's home early on Tuesday in connection with a homicide investigation. Five people were detained and under interrogation as part of that investigation.

 

At the Europa Bridge, the main border crossing in the region used by commuters travelling in both directions, armed police inspected vehicles. Police were also checking pedestrians and trains arriving in Germany from Strasbourg.

 

Secular France has for years grappled with how to respond to both homegrown jihadists and foreign militants following attacks in Paris, Nice, Marseille and beyond.

 

In 2016, a truck ploughed into a Bastille Day crowd in Nice, killing more than 80 people. In November 2015, coordinated Islamist militant attacks on the Bataclan concert hall and other sites in Paris claimed about 130 lives.

 

There have also been attacks in Paris on police on the Champs-Elysees avenue, the offices of satirical weekly publication Charlie Hebdo and a kosher store.

 

A man drove a trunk into a crowd at a Christmas market in Berlin in December 2016, killing 12 people.

 

(Reporting by Vincent Kessler, Geert De Clercq, Sophie Louet, Sudip Kar-Gupta, Leigh Thomas, Emmanuel Jarry and Richard Lough in Paris, Vincent Kessler, John Irish and Gilbert Reilhac in Strasbourg, Sabine Siebold and Andrea Shalal in Berlin; Writing by Richard Lough; Editing by Angus MacSwan, Richard Balmforth)

 
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-- © Copyright Reuters 2018-12-13

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1 hour ago, Krataiboy said:

. . . known to have been religiously radicalised while in jail.

 

It is called "Taking the mat". Many jails in France, the UK and across Europe are dominated by Muslim gangs which force newcomers to join their ranks and indoctrinate them into the ways of radical Islam and the Prophet.

 

In the UK, the former head of the National Counter Terrorism Security Office has warned that staff shortages are making it harder to tackle Islamic radicalisation in prisons. https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-32194671

 

Muslims, who make up roughly 5% of the British population as a whole, now account for 13% of the British prison population - compared to just 6% in 1997. https://www.gatestoneinstitute.org/3913/uk-muslim-prison-population

 

The Reuters report hints at the religion of the alleged terrorist, but goes to considerable pains to avoid mentioning the words Islam or Muslim.

 

This could be an ominous sign of the media beginning to bend to EU and UN pressure to outlaw any criticism of the world's second biggest religion or its followers.  If so, free speech itself - one of the foundational pillars of all democratic societies - is under threat. 

And what was the percentage of Muslim in the UK population in 1997? And how does the percentage of UK Muslims in UK prisons correlate with income levels of of prisoners? I'm sure that the Gatestone Institute, being the fairminded organization that it is, just forgot to include those factors.

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2 hours ago, bristolboy said:

And what was the percentage of Muslim in the UK population in 1997? And how does the percentage of UK Muslims in UK prisons correlate with income levels of of prisoners? I'm sure that the Gatestone Institute, being the fairminded organization that it is, just forgot to include those factors.

You could check the figures for yourself easily enough.

 

I've never heard of the Gatestone Institute, but the core data referenced in the link is mainly from the BBC and relevant British government departments.

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6 hours ago, My Thai Life said:

You could check the figures for yourself easily enough.

 

I've never heard of the Gatestone Institute, but the core data referenced in the link is mainly from the BBC and relevant British government departments.

Easy to find those figures. Really?  So what percentage of the UK population was Muslim in 1997? I couldn't find out. I did find that it had nearly doubled from 2001 to 2011. So I could guess that from 1997 to 2015 it most likely had more than doubled and way outpaced the growth rate of the UK population. So that might be enough to explain the increase in detentions right there.

And muslims are on average in the lowest income brackets. Another positive correlation for criminal activity.

Also, their population is on average younger as well. Which also correlates positively for criminal activity.

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/02/12/british-muslims-facts_n_6670234.html

So while Muslims may be committing crimes at a higher rate, it's not because they're Muslims. It because their percentage of the population has increased, they tend to be poorer and younger.

And if you want to know about the Gatestone Institute, that's easy to find. Just follow this link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gatestone_Institute

Pretty much any information from them is going to be highly unreliable

 

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40 minutes ago, bristolboy said:

Easy to find those figures. Really?  So what percentage of the UK population was Muslim in 1997? I couldn't find out. I did find that it had nearly doubled from 2001 to 2011. So I could guess that from 1997 to 2015 it most likely had more than doubled and way outpaced the growth rate of the UK population. So that might be enough to explain the increase in detentions right there.

And muslims are on average in the lowest income brackets. Another positive correlation for criminal activity.

Also, their population is on average younger as well. Which also correlates positively for criminal activity.

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/02/12/british-muslims-facts_n_6670234.html

So while Muslims may be committing crimes at a higher rate, it's not because they're Muslims. It because their percentage of the population has increased, they tend to be poorer and younger.

And if you want to know about the Gatestone Institute, that's easy to find. Just follow this link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gatestone_Institute

Pretty much any information from them is going to be highly unreliable

 

Your snipe at the Gatestone Institute statistics I quoted would be funny were it not so clumsily pathetic. At least I presented some valid, checkable facts.

 

You have produced none that are relevant, and can only offer a "guess" about demographics which "might explain" why so many Muslim men ere enjoying bed and board at Her Majesty's pleasure.

 

The clincher is your bid to cook up a socio/economic deprivation theory in mitigation of the high Muslim incarceration rate, referencing - of all things - a Huffington Post article based on a propaganda handout from the discredited Muslim Council of Great Britain.

 

And you have the gall to call MY source questionable!🤣

 

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2 hours ago, bristolboy said:

Easy to find those figures. Really?  So what percentage of the UK population was Muslim in 1997? I couldn't find out. I did find that it had nearly doubled from 2001 to 2011. So I could guess that from 1997 to 2015 it most likely had more than doubled and way outpaced the growth rate of the UK population. So that might be enough to explain the increase in detentions right there.

And muslims are on average in the lowest income brackets. Another positive correlation for criminal activity.

Also, their population is on average younger as well. Which also correlates positively for criminal activity.

https://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2015/02/12/british-muslims-facts_n_6670234.html

So while Muslims may be committing crimes at a higher rate, it's not because they're Muslims. It because their percentage of the population has increased, they tend to be poorer and younger.

And if you want to know about the Gatestone Institute, that's easy to find. Just follow this link:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gatestone_Institute

Pretty much any information from them is going to be highly unreliable

 

That 5% of the population accounts for more than 13% of the Convicted prison population speaks for itself.

There are many other ethnic groups in Britain and their crime rates do not measure up to those of this particular group. 

And no other ethnic group feels the need to mass murder on religious grounds.

And the reason why muslims have a lower income bracket is because, over all they are not encouraged by their religious leaders to gain an education.

Education is anathema to muslims, it would show up the hypocracy of their fundamental beliefs.

So the gaols are filled up with uneducated, poor and bitter young people. Just right for the base muslim beliefs to be instilled.

And the promise of eternal life with all those virgins if they enter the lovely muslim mantra of jihad.

 Another reason for the population explosion from 1997 to 2015 is the unfettered breeding programme which is also a holy muslim mantra.

So, more young, uneducated and bitter people, with no prospect of employment and instilled in radical religious dogma.

You need to stop making excuses for muslims and Islamists and go back to the real, root causes of of the problems they present to any moderate western country.

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29 y.o born in Strasbourg - binational of Algerian origin, blended family of 12 children .. 27 convictions in his criminal record since the age of 10 ( the French judicial system is criminally lax)... This umpteenth "affair" of Islamic terrorism proves you can be born in France and remain a foreigner.

This killer is a statistical occurrence. With a good database (age, class, background / origin / religion, criminal record, % of sociopaths), it should be possible to estimate the "risk" and the number of terrorist attacks of this kind in the coming years.

Edited by Opl

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Gatestone Institute is not permitted as a source.   Do not use in the future.   

 

The organization has attracted attention for publishing false articles and being a source of viral falsehoods.

 

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The suspect has now been killed by police after he was found hiding in a warehouse in the Meinau area of the city.

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9 hours ago, kkerry said:

The suspect has now been killed by police after he was found hiding in a warehouse in the Meinau area of the city.

No, he was killed on an open street after police ordered him to halt as a suspect. He panicked and being such a good shot except at very close range, he opened fire.

He was shot in the exchange. (His soul now resides in muslim heaven and 72 virgins are catering to his every need) 

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My reply was from the initial breaking news report on the BBC now some nine hours ago... details were amended a couple of hours later... 

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