Paris attacker was on jihadist watchlist and had gun licence

Jun 21, 2017, 07:41 IST | Agencies

Rescuers tend to the body of a man lying in a sealed off area of the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris, on June 19. Pic/AFP
Rescuers tend to the body of a man lying in a sealed off area of the Champs-Elysees avenue in Paris, on June 19. Pic/AFP

Questions arose yesterday over how a known radical Islamist who rammed a car into a police van on Paris's Champs-Elysees was able to hold a gun licence. Adam Djaziri, a 31-year-old who had been on a watch list for radical Islamists since 2015, was killed on Monday, as his car loaded with a gas canister smashed into the van on the French capital's most famous avenue.

Two handguns and a Kalashnikov-style assault rifle were found in the car, while a weapons stash was found at the home of the assailant, who died in the incident.

Djaziri's father, who has since been detained, told AFP that his son was a licensed gun-owner, and a source close to the probe said he owned nine weapons including pistols and an assault rifle. As the one-month-old government of President Emmanuel Macron prepares to unveil a tougher new anti-terrorism law, Prime Minister Edouard Philippe expressed dismay that Djaziri was able to have a gun permit despite being on a jihadist watchlist. "What I know at this stage is that the first weapons permit was given before this individual was flagged up," he said in an interview with BFM television and RMC radio, but he added that "no one can be satisfied – and certainly not me" that Djaziri had evidently still been able to possess dangerous weapons.

Burn marks were found on Djaziri's body but it was not yet clear how he died, according to a source close to the investigation. There were no other casualties, and no group claimed responsibility.

Relatives held
Four family members of Adam Djaziri have been arrested, judiciary sources said on Tuesday. The suspect's former wife, brother and sister-in-law and his father were arrested on Monday night during a search at the man's residence.

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