Counter-terrorism agents searching the home of the man who attacked a police officer in front of the Notre Dame Cathedral have found a video recording of the assailant pledging allegiance to Islamic State, France’s LCI television says.
The video shows the suspect, identified as Algerian-born doctoral student Farid Ikken, claiming responsibility for his “future actions,” LCI reported, citing unnamed sources in the security services.
Ikken, who was renting a studio apartment in a student residence in the Parisian suburb of Cergy-Pontoise, had no criminal record, the sources told the news network.
The dozen agents who searched the apartment did not find any weapons or explosives.
Ikken, 40, used a hammer to attack the police officer, who suffered slight injuries, and was found to be carrying kitchen knives.
A second officer shot and wounded Ikken after the initial blow.
The university professor who was Ikken’s dissertation adviser, Arnaud Mercier, told LCI that he never noticed anything to indicate his student posed a threat.
“From what I know of his personality, though we haven’t been in contact for a while, this leaves me completely stupefied,” Mercier said of Ikken, who had worked as a journalist in Algeria and Sweden.
“He was someone very committed, who acknowledged the values of democracy, he believed very much in journalistic ideals,” the professor said. “He didn’t have a beard, or observe the Ramadan (fast). The only thing I noticed is that he didn’t drink alcohol, but there are many Muslims who don’t drink and they’re not dangerous jihadists.”
French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said earlier that the attacker shouted “This is for Syria!” as he struck the police officer.
Around 1,000 visitors were kept inside Notre Dame for more than an hour until police determined the threat had passed.