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Anniversary attack Paris police attacker requested asylum in Switzerland

Armed police guard the entrance to a Paris police station, which was the site of a shooting on the one-year anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo attacks

(Keystone)

The man who attacked a Paris police station on the anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo terror attacks asked for asylum in Switzerland in 2013, according to the federal police. 

Alexander Rechsteiner, deputy spokesperson for the Swiss Federal Office of Police (FEDPOL), confirmed to swissinfo.ch that the individual was known to Swiss authorities because he requested asylum in the country in January 2013. His request was denied and he was deported to Italy in June of the same year. 

Rechsteiner said his agency had looked into the man’s history at the request of French authorities. He said FEDPOL is currently investigating further details related to the case but that there are currently no indications the man was involved in terrorist activities while in Switzerland.

On January 7, the man in question tried to enter a Paris police station armed with a meat cleaver. He was also wearing a fake suicide belt. Police shot and killed him before he could enter the building, and French police said the man’s actions were not part of a coordinated attack. 

He was found carrying a text swearing allegiance to the Islamic State as well as a mobile phone containing a German SIM card.

Following his denied asylum request in Switzerland, the man lived in a centre for asylum seekers in Recklingshausen, Germany, according to Swiss public broadcaster RTS. Authorities in North Rhine-Westphalia acknowledged that the man was an asylum seeker who had assumed seven false identities over the course of the last several years.

swissinfo.ch with agencies

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