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French Police Arrest Suspect in Attack on Soldier

Steven Erlanger
The New York Time [1]
May 29, 2013

The French police on Wednesday arrested a 21-year-old man described as a recent convert to Islam who they said had confessed to stabbing a French soldier on Saturday in a Paris suburb.

Interior Minister Manuel Valls said in a statement that the man was arrested Wednesday morning in the Yvelines region, just west of Paris. The soldier, Pvt. Cédric Cordiez, 23, was stabbed in the neck with a short-bladed knife in La Défense, a shopping mall and underground transportation hub west of Paris. He was treated at a military hospital and released on Monday.

Officials initially said that the stabbing seemed to echo an attack last week on a British soldier, who was hacked to death on a London street by two men the British authorities have identified as radicalized British Muslims. On Wednesday, the Paris public prosecutor, François Molins, said investigators believed that the suspect had indeed “acted in the name of his religious ideology,” given the character and timing of the attack as well as a “prayer” he said shortly before it.

The man, whom Mr. Molins identified only by his given name, Alexandre, confessed to the police officers who arrested him, Mr. Molins said. He is believed to have targeted Private Cordiez, one of a small group of soldiers on an antiterror patrol, as a “representative of the state,” apparently intending to kill him, Mr. Molins said.

Full story here. [1]