Reuters International

PARIS (Reuters) - A Frenchman who killed a police commander and his partner this week was seen in a van with a man involved in an aborted attack on churchgoers in the Paris suburb of Villejuif, a source close to the investigation said on Friday.

Larossi Abballa, 25, was killed by police commandos after killing the couple with a knife at their home and taking their three-year-old son hostage on Monday.

"Police authorities of the Yvelines area received in April 2015 information according to which Larossi Abballa was seen in a van with a man later suspected in the (Villejuif) affair," the source told Reuters.

French magistrates opened a formal investigation in April last year into a 24-year-old Algerian suspected of murdering a woman and planning a gun attack on churchgoers in Villejuif.

That would suggest Abballa, was jailed in 2013 for helping Islamist militants go to Pakistan, was not a lone wolf but part of a wider ring. In a chilling video he posted on Facebook after the murders, Abballa warned there would be further attacks during the Euro 2016 soccer tournament being held in France.

France remains on high alert since the multiple attacks by Islamic State militants on bars, restaurants, a concert hall and the national soccer stadium in Paris in November.

(Reporting by Paris bureau; Writing by Michel Rose; Editing by John Irish and Catherine Evans)

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