The knifeman who killed one man and wounded four other people Saturday night in Paris had been on an anti-terror watchlist of suspected extremists, sources close to the inquiry told AFP on Sunday.
The Frenchman, born in 1997 in the Russian republic of Chechnya, was on the so-called “S file” of people suspected of radicalised views who could pose security risks, the sources said, though he did not have a criminal record.
Police shot and killed the man shortly after being alerted to the attack on the Rue Monsigny, a lively neighbourhood of theatres and restaurants near the main opera house in Paris.
Witnesses said they heard the man yelling “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest) as people fled the scene.
His parents have been taken into custody. Investigators have not yet said when the man arrived in France.
Many but not all of the people on France’s S file (the ‘S’ stands for security) have been involved in the series of deadly jihadist attacks that have killed some 245 people across the country since 2015.
The watchlist contains anyone suspected of being a radical, including potentially dangerous religious extremists but also leftist and far-right activists.
A separate list, the File for the Prevention of Terrorist Radicalisation (FSPRT), focuses on people judged to be terror threats.
That list currently has nearly 20,000 people, of whom about half are under active surveillance.