Police on the scene shortly intervened and killed the attacker, Prime Minister Jean Castex informed journalists on Friday, referring to the incident in Rambouillet as a “terrorist assault.”
Castex mentioned that “our willpower to struggle terrorism in all its form is unbroken, greater than ever.”
French anti-terrorist prosecutor Jean-François Ricard mentioned, “The way in which this crime was dedicated” and “the phrases mentioned by the attacker through the occasion” led the anti-terror workplace to tackle the investigation.
The attacker had scouted the placement earlier than launching the stabbing, Castex mentioned. And witnesses heard the attacker shout “Allahu Akhbar,” based on a supply near the investigation.
Castex and French Inside Minister Gérald Darmanin mentioned they had been on their approach to Rambouillet, a city of 25,000 individuals 35 miles southwest of the capital.
“The Republic has simply misplaced one in all its heroines, in an infinitely coward barbaric gesture,” he added.
Reacting to the assault, French President Emmanuel Macron mentioned France wouldn’t quit the struggle in opposition to terrorism.
“She was a police officer. Stephanie has been killed in her police station in Rambouillet, on the already wounded land of the Yvelines. The Nation stands by the aspect of her household, her colleagues, and regulation enforcement officers. We is not going to quit the struggle in opposition to Islamist terrorism,” Macron mentioned on Twitter.
Assaults intensify debate over French secularism
The assault comes amid an in depth public debate over France’s mannequin of secularism, which has wracked the nation in current months and is prone to be a key subject within the presidential election subsequent yr.
Often called “laïcité” in French, the separation of church and state is the framework of the nation’s political system and is deeply ingrained in French tradition.
French lawmakers have been engaged on contentious laws aimed toward combating Islamist radicalism and reinforcing the nation’s precept of laïcité, as President Macron makes an attempt to enchantment to right-wing voters.
However secularism is divisive in a rustic as various as France, which is residence to five million Muslims — a lot of whom stay in poorer areas and are sometimes marginalized in politics and media. The overwhelming majority of France’s Muslims don’t assist Islamic extremism, but nonetheless face unfair stereotypes, consultants say.
Critics say the invoice, which incorporates measures that may ban head scarves and different overt spiritual clothes or symbols, dangers discriminating in opposition to Muslims.
The invoice is at the moment being scrutinized by a cross-party parliamentary fee.
The broader debate over laïcité and whether or not it really works in fashionable, multicultural France has been intensified by current terror assaults.
Macron subsequently issued a robust protection of the precept of freedom of speech and mentioned France wouldn’t “quit” the caricatures, which had been revealed in satirical journal Charlie Hebdo in 2012.
The assaults are the newest in a string of violence linked to the cartoon in France over a number of years. In 2015, 17 individuals had been killed in a terror assault that started in Charlie Hebdo’s places of work in Paris and carried on for 3 days.
The caricatures are thought-about blasphemous in Islam, and Macron’s feedback triggered widespread anger in lots of Muslim-majority nations final yr.
Antonella Francini contributed to this report from Paris.