PARIS | French official: Friend of attacker faces accomplice charge

PARIS | French official: Friend of attacker faces accomplice charge

PARIS (AP) — A close friend of the young man who carried out a deadly knife attack in Paris before being killed by police was appearing before a judge and expected to be handed preliminary charges as an accomplice, the anti-terrorism prosecutor said Thursday.

Francois Molins also said in his first news conference since the Saturday night attack that two female friends of the men were arrested earlier in the day in the Paris region, but gave no details.

Khamzat Azimov, who was born in the Russian republic of Chechnya, killed one person and wounded four others with a knife. He was killed by police as he advanced on them, saying “shoot, shoot, shoot.”

Molins said that Azimov’s parents, who were detained shortly after the stabbing spree, said they recognized their son in a video declaring allegiance to the Islamic State group, released a day later.

In the posthumous video, released by IS’s Aamaq news agency, Azimov called on Muslims in Europe to “take action in the land of disbelievers” if they can’t travel to the crumbling caliphate in Iraq and Syria, which has been pounded by coalition forces. The man said French citizens should pressure their government “if you want it (attacks) to end.”

Azimov had French and Russian citizenship, Molins said. His friend, identified as Abdul Hakim A., also was from Chechnya. Both Azimov and Abdul Hakim A. were on a watch list for potential radicalization, Molins said.

The prosecutor said that Abdul Hakim A., arrested a day after the attack in Strasbourg where Azimov had previously lived, denied contacting or seeing his friend for several months. The Azimov family had moved to the northern 18th district of Paris.

The prosecutor’s office opened a judicial investigation against Abdul Hakim A. on an array of potential charges, including attempted assassination linked to a terrorist enterprise, and criminal association in view of preparing crimes against others.

By Associated Press – published on STL.News by St. Louis Media, LLC(R.A)