A man has been detained after he was reportedly caught on CCTV trying to knife a female police officer during an assault.
French daily Le Parisien said the assailant attacked the female officer, around 26 years old, in the the town of Gironde, north-east of Paris, at 5.30pm on Friday.
Witnesses said the suspect had shown “sympathy” towards France’s extremism-plagued state.
Laurent Tassin, a prosecutor with the prosecutor’s office, told Reuters the incident started after a police officer identified the suspect’s BMW 4×4 as being involved in a theft.
Describing the attacker as a young man, Tassin said that he had then parked the BMW before the police officer exited her patrol car to investigate, asking him for his details. The suspect then reportedly tried to stab the police officer, and that is when other officers were called.
Police arrested the man, whose identity has not been released, and he is being held at Bordeaux central prison.
Tassin said the identity of the suspect was a known one, and that he appeared to have motives linked to Islam. “There could be some connection with Daesh [the extremist group Islamic State],” he said.
Earlier in October, a doctor in Marseille turned her back on a train after a note was delivered that threatened that if she did not respond to the attacker she would die.
Polls show support for Isis is at its lowest point in France since the terrorist attacks in the country in 2015.
The autumn issue of the news magazine Liberte, which also carried an interview with the spokeswoman for France’s anti-terror police unit, Naïmí Bachar, reveals the challenges facing French law enforcement officers in the fight against terrorism, including a lack of ground troops.
After the Nice attack in 2016, French police took advantage of a change in the law enabling them to hold suspected extremists in secure prisons for an extra 30 days.
On the day of the attack in France last December when an Islamist murdered 84 people and injured 500 at a Christmas market in Berlin, the French president, François Hollande, said the government would fight terrorism “by all available means”. The UK government responded by announcing the dispersal of its Special Immigration Appeals Commission. The commission was set up to process decisions on whether suspected terrorists and other extremism-related suspects could be deported.