THE Islamic State has released a video that appears to show the suspect in Saturday night’s knife attack in Paris pledging allegiance to the group’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.
It is not clear if the man in the two-minute-long video released by the terror group’s news agency Amaq was indeed the attacker.
His nose and mouth are covered, and he doesn’t identify himself by name in the footage uncovered by a jihadist monitoring group.
Speaking in French, he calls on European Muslims to attack in their home countries if they are unable to emigrate to the caliphate. The video is undated, but a steady rain falls behind the man, as it did on Saturday in Paris.
The SITE Intelligence Group, which monitors jihadi online postings, said the Paris attacker is the person in the video Amaq released Sunday.
IS earlier claimed the suspect behind the knifings that killed one person and wounded four as one of its “soldiers”.
French officials said the suspect in the Paris attack is a 20-year-old French citizen who was born in the Russian republic of Chechnya, whose president identified him on Sunday as Khamzat Azimov.
A French judicial official said he did not have an arrest record but was on a watch list for potential radicalism.
A friend of the young man who rampaged through a central Paris neighbourhood near the city’s opera house knifing passers-by has now been detained in the eastern French city of Strasbourg.
The friend is the third person French police have taken in for questioning since the attack. The parents of the alleged attacker were detained at their home in the northern 18th district of Paris after their son was fatally shot by police at the scene.
The official said the parents of the alleged attacker, a 20-year-old French citizen who was born in the Russian republic of Chechnya, were still being questioned on Sunday.
Chechen President Ramzan Kadyrov said on Sunday he had been informed the dead attacker had received French citizenship and held a Russian passport until he was 14.
Russian news agencies quoted the Chechen leader saying: “I consider it necessary to state that all responsibility for the fact that Khasan Azimov went on the road of crime lies completely with the authorities of France. He was only born in Chechnya, and his growing up, the formation of his personality, his views and persuasions occurred in French society.”
The majority Muslim Russian republic of Chechnya has long grappled with extremism.
The assailant stabbed a 29-year-old man to death and injured two women and two men.
Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said one of the injured underwent emergency surgery, and two friends were hospitalised with less serious injuries, but all are out of life-threatening danger. One was a man from Luxembourg.
While the alleged assailant had no record of arrests or convictions, he was on a nationwide database of thousands of people suspected of links to radicalism.
A police official said the assailant didn’t have identity documents with him during Saturday’s attack but was identified thanks to DNA.
The French interior minister is holding a special security meeting on Sunday to address the attack.