A “radicalized” inmate has stabbed two guards in a prison in northwestern France, sparking a tense hours-long standoff with law enforcement. The suspect was injured and his wife killed during the police raid.
The prisoner was with his wife in a visiting room at the high-security facility on Tuesday when he suddenly stabbed two guards with a ceramic knife, shouting “Allahu Akbar,” prison staff told the AFP.
“It was truly a murder attempt. There was blood everywhere. The family-visiting unit was a battle scene,” a member of staff said. Despite the apparent severity of the attack, the victims’ injuries were not life-threatening.
The 27-year-old suspect then retreated into another room and locked himself in with his wife, beginning a standoff with police lasting several hours.
A journalist on site at the prison reported hearing multiple low-intensity explosions as police employed non-lethal grenades to apprehend the suspect. Half an hour later, a louder explosion and multiple gunshots were heard from the facility.
The death of the rogue inmate’s wife has been confirmed by the Paris prosecutor, while the suspect himself was slightly injured during the incident and arrested at the scene by police.
Justice Minister Nicole Belloubet said that there was “no doubt about the terrorist nature of the attack,” and that the inmate was known as an adherent of radical Islam. Police sources suggest he was radicalized in prison in 2010.
Unconfirmed reports from localnewssources say that the suspect has claimed the attack for Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS), and announced his intent to “die like a martyr.”
The prisoner is currently serving a 30-year sentence for armed robbery, fatal kidnapping and “glorifying terrorism.” According to local media, the man was in jail in connection with the death of an 89-year-old holocaust survivor.