Friday’s shooting in a bustling Paris neighbourhood killed three people and injured several more, stirring up concerns about hate crimes at a time when far-right voices have gained prominence in France and around Europe in recent years.
The suspected attacker, who was wounded and is in custody, is a 69-year-old man who was charged last year with attacking a migrant camp in Paris with a sword.
The suspect attributed Friday’s attack to his being “racist”, a source close to the investigation told AFP. He was found with a case loaded with a box of at least 25 cartridges and “two or three loaded magazines”, the source added.
Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said the suspect was clearly targeting foreigners, and had acted alone and was not officially affiliated with any extreme-right or other radical movements.
The suspect had past convictions for illegal arms possession and armed violence, Darmanin added.
The shots at the centre and a nearby hairdressing salon shortly before midday on Friday caused panic in the trendy 10th district of the French capital, a bustling area of shops and restaurants that is home to a large Kurdish population.
French President Emmanuel Macron said “the Kurds in France [had] been the target of an odious attack in the heart of Paris” and ordered the Paris police chief to meet with leaders of the Kurdish community on Saturday.
‘We are under threat’
Friday’s killing come almost 10 years after the notorious triple murders of three Kurdish women activists in the same area of Paris that deeply shook France’s Kurds.
>> Deadly attack on Kurds in Paris revives trauma of unsolved 2013 murders
The Kurdish community centre, called Centre Ahmet Kaya, is used by a charity that organises concerts and exhibitions, and helps members of the Kurdish diaspora in the Paris region.
According to the Kurdish Democratic Council in France (CDK-F), a group representing France’s large Kurdish population, Friday’s victims included Emine Kara, a leader of the Kurdish Women’s Movement in France who had fought the Islamic State (IS) group in Syria.
The other victims were Abdulrahman Kizil and Mir Perwer, a political refugee and artist, according to the CDK-F. A police source confirmed that Kara and Kizil were among the dead.
After an angry crowd clashed with police on Friday afternoon, the CDK-F called on its website and social media channels for a gathering on Saturday at Place de la République in central Paris, a traditional venue for demonstrations.
Several hundred people including Kurds and anti-racism groups gathered in the vast square, with many holding flags.
“We know that we are under threat, Kurds in general, Kurdish activists and militants. France owes us protection,” Berivan Firat, a spokesperson for the CDK-F told BFM TV.
(FRANCE 24 with AFP, Reuters)
The post Prosecutors investigating ‘racist’ motive in deadly attack on Paris Kurds appeared first on France 24.