Was the stabbing of a French soldier in Paris linked to a similar attack in London?


Image from AFP. Police watch the area where the French soldier was attacked in La Défense, Paris.

Image from AFP. Police watch the area where the French soldier was attacked in La Défense, Paris.

A French soldier was stabbed whilst on patrol in Paris just days after an attack in London left a soldier dead, it is unclear at the moment, whether the two events were linked.

French President, Francois Hollande said “We still do not know the exact circumstances of the attack or the identity of the attacker, but we are looking at all options”. When questioned with regard to a possible link to the murder in London he said “I do not think that at this stage a link can be made”.

It is understandable why some people believe that the two attacks were linked. The attackers in London claimed to be Muslims and ITV obtained footage in which one of the attackers is seen justifying his actions in the name of Islam and as revenge for British attacks in Muslim countries. Moreover, last year, seven people were killed in Toulouse, three of them soldiers, by a self-proclaimed Muslim Extremist Mohamed Merah. Only earlier this month France received threats from members of Al-Qaeda in North Africa after its involvement in Mali.

Interior minister, Manuel Valls, said that “there were elements, such as the sudden violence of the attack (on the soldier in Paris), that could lead one to think there is a form of comparison with what happened in London”.

Understandably, the Muslim community has moved to distance itself from either of the attacks, speaking on Friday, Muslims in London condemned the attacks. They expressed their sympathy for the family of the British soldier, Lee Rigby, whilst making absolutely clear that in their mind the two men accused of the attack are in no way welcomed in the Islamic community.

Image from BBC News. Woolwich; London area where Lee Rigby was killed

Image from BBC News. Woolwich; London area where Lee Rigby was killed

Whilst it may be possible that the attack in London was seen in France and that this may have had an influence on the attack in Paris, it seems unlikely that the two attacks were in any way part of a coordinated plan.

Written By Sean Farrell, Joe Wood, Saskia Schink, Roman Koshivka, Sergio Serrano and Anastasia Markina

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