Paris police open fire on woman who allegedly made death threats at train station

AFP , Tuesday 31 Oct 2023

Paris police opened fire Tuesday on an unarmed woman who threatened to blow herself up after allegedly making death threats on a train heading into the French capital.

Paris station
Police officers stand by a subway station after a woman allegedly made threatening remarks on a train, Tuesday, Oct. 31, 2023 in Paris. AP

 

It was the latest security incident in France, which has been on heightened anti-terror alert since a fatal stabbing at a school on Oct. 13 blamed on an Islamic extremist.

Police fired one shot, hitting and seriously injuring the woman, the Paris prosecutor’s office said. It said she was hospitalized for emergency treatment.

A police investigation was opened into the exact nature of threats the woman allegedly made while riding the RER C suburban train into Paris, and witness testimony will be gathered, the prosecutor’s office said.

It said she is facing potential charges of making death threats, of defending terrorism and of intimidating behavior directed at police.

The woman was dressed in a long robe, known as an abaya, the prosecutor’s office said. Abayas are mainly worn by Muslims.

Another police probe was opened into the shooting. That is automatic when officers use firearms.

Paris police said officers responded after train passengers reported that a woman was making threats. Government spokesman Olivier Veran said the woman “made remarks of a rather Islamist nature” that worried other passengers.

Phrases she reportedly used included “You’re all going to get it,” “Allahu akbar” and “Boom,” said Paris police chief Laurent Nunez.

Allahu akbar is “God is great” in Arabic.

Officers stopped the woman at a Metro and suburban train station in eastern Paris that serves the François Mitterrand national library.

The shot was fired after she refused to obey police orders and threatened to blow herself up, the prosecutor’s office said.

The train station was evacuated. A search of the woman found that she wasn’t carrying explosives, the police chief said.

Police were verifying the identity of the woman, who wasn’t carrying ID papers, but she is thought to have been arrested previously for threatening behavior in 2021 and then hospitalized for apparent mental health problems, he said.

France has stepped up security since the Oct. 13 school attack in the northern French town of Arras. French-language teacher Dominique Bernard was stabbed to death and three other people were wounded.

The alleged attacker in that case had been under police surveillance on suspicion of Islamic radicalization. French anti-terror investigators said the suspect declared allegiance to the Islamic State group before the assault.

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