Deadly knife attack on French police officer being investigated as potential terrorist attack

Police officers block the access with barriers next to the Police station in Rambouillet, south west of Paris, Friday, April 23, 2021. A French police officer was stabbed to death inside her police station Friday near the famed historic Rambouillet chateau, and her attacker was shot and killed by officers at the scene, authorities said. The identity and the motive of the assailant were not immediately clear, a national police spokesperson told The Associated Press. The police officer was a 49-year-old administrative employee in the station, the spokesperson said. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Police officers blocked the access with barriers next to the Police station in Rambouillet, south west of Paris, Friday, April 23, 2021.(AP Photo/Michel Euler)

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UPDATED 2:55 PM PT – Friday, April 23, 2021

French authorities are looking into the possibility that a knife attack on Friday, which left a police official dead just outside Paris, was terror-related.

Local officials said terrorism can not be ruled out as a motive, despite the assailant not being on the radar of French security agencies. Authorities said the attacker was of Tunisian nationality and was fatally shot by police after ambushing the administrative employee as she was coming out of a police station.

Police officers block the access with barriers next to the Police station in Rambouillet, south west of Paris, Friday, April 23, 2021. A French police officer was stabbed to death inside her police station Friday near the famed historic Rambouillet chateau, and her attacker was shot and killed by officers at the scene, authorities said. The identity and the motive of the assailant were not immediately clear, a national police spokesperson told The Associated Press. The police officer was a 49-year-old administrative employee in the station, the spokesperson said. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Police officers blocked the access with barriers next to the Police station in Rambouillet, south west of Paris, Friday, April 23, 2021. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Regional president of Paris Valerie Pecresse called terrorism a very serious threat to their country.

“I spoke with the police, who are of course absolutely devastated by what’s happened,” Pecresse stated. “The attacker wanted to strike a symbol of France again, because the police are France, they are the face of France, and they also sought to destabilize the country, by coming here, carrying out this attack on the police in such a quiet town, in the rural south of the Paris region.”

France has suffered a wave of attacks by Islamist militants in recent years that have left more than 250 people dead.

In October, an Islamist teenager beheaded a school teacher after the teacher showed caricatures of the prophet Mohammed in class.

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