France held a national homage on Friday to honour a police employee who was stabbed to death last week at a police station in Rambouillet, southwest of Paris, in what officials said was an Islamist terrorist attack.
Police administrative worker Stéphanie Monfermé, a mother of two, was stabbed in the stomach and throat on April 23 at the entrance of the police station where she worked. Her attacker was shot dead by police.
Monfermé was posthumously awarded the Legion of Honour, France’s top distinction, at a ceremony led by Prime Minister Jean Castex and attended by five other ministers.
President Emmanuel Macron attended Monfermé’s private funeral, along with the victim’s family, on Thursday.
France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor said the killing marked the “17th Islamist terrorist attack targeting security forces in France since 2014.”
The prosecutor said the Tunisian-born suspect, identified as Jamel G., had no criminal record or evidence of radicalisation, and said investigators are trying to determine whether other people or groups helped or inspired him.
The suspect had listened to religious songs inciting to “jihad” just before the attack, the prosecutor added, and witnesses heard him shout “Allahu akbar,” Arabic for “God is great,” during the attack.
Several police officers have been killed by Islamist militants in recent years.
In 2019, a convert to Islam working in the Paris police headquarters killed three police officers and one civilian employee. In 2016, a Frenchman of Moroccan origin stabbed a police commander to death outside his home in a Paris suburb and killed his partner, who also worked for the police.
The day after Islamist gunmen killed 12 people at satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, another Islamist killed a policewoman.
The French government has presented a new law this week to toughen anti-terror measures, including increased use of computer algorithms to detect potential terror threats among internet users.
(FRANCE 24 with AP, AFP)