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French police suspect terror in knife attack by man shouting "Allahu Akbar"

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Forensic experts on the scene of a knife attack on police officers in Joué-les-Tours, central France GUILLAUME SOUVANT / AFP

French police have launched a terror probe into an attack on three of its officers by a knife-wielding man shouting "Allahu Akbar". The perpetrator, a French national of Burundi origin, was later shot dead. Sources say he had become radicalized by online Islamist propaganda.


Armed with a knife, the attacker burst into a police station in central France on Saturday in a likely attempt to cause bodily harm.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, who rushed to the scene, said the man was killed after he attacked three police officers with a knife in the station at Joue-les-Tours, the largest suburb of Tours.

Cazeneuve confirmed the attacker had shouted "Allahu Akbar" during the attack, which he said was "extremely violent".

Anti-terror investigators of Paris' prosecutor's office have opened an inquiry for "attempted murder and criminal conspiracy in connection with a terrorist organization."

"It looked like the sort of act called for by Islamic State," said sources close to the investigation. 

The man, Bertrand Nzohabonayo, was reportedly known for his radical positions, and had a flag of terror organization Daesh on his Facebook page. However, he was not on any watch list of the French intelligence services.

"The probe is only starting," justified Bernard Cazeneuve. It's still unclear whether the attack was in response to Daesh's call on Friday for Muslims to wage war on France.

Inside sources note that the assailant's brother was known to authorities, and had at one point planned to fight jihad in Syria.

In a tweet on Sunday, Prime Minister Manuel Valls pledged his support to the "seriously injured" officers who were "in a state of shock." All three are out of danger.