French police shoot dead attacker 'linked to far-right Generation Identity'

French police shoot dead attacker 'linked to far-right Generation Identity'
French media reports indicate the man threatened a North African shopkeeper with a weapon before being shot dead by police.
2 min read
29 October, 2020
France raised its security alert to the highest level following the attacks [Getty]
French police shot an armed man dead in the southeastern city of Avignon on Wednesday after he threatened a North African shopkeeper and police officers, local media report.

The incident came amid a spate of attacks on Wednesday targeting both police and the public across France.

Three people were killed in a knife attack in a Nice cathedral which is being investigated as a terrorist attack, while an Afghan man was arrested after stabbing a police officer in Lyon.

Although the attacks in Nice and Lyon have been linked to Islamist extremists, the incident in Avignon has been connected to a far-right group.

The attacker there was a member of Generation Identity, French daily Le Monde reported.

The youth-focused "alt-right" group campaigns against immigration and Islam, and espouses the white supremacist "Great Replacement" conspiracy theory which posits that white Europeans are being "replaced" by non-Europeans through mass migration.

The 33-year-old man had threatened a North African shopkeeper with a handgun, according to left-wing news site Mediapart.

He was wering a blue jacket bearing the logo of Generation Identity, Mediapart said, adding that its report had been confirmed by Avignon prosecutor Phillippe Guemas.

Le Monde reported that the assailant had told the shopkeeper he was a member of the Generation Idenitity, but it had no further information at this point.

The yet unnamed assailant was killed after police opened fire.

The Nice attacker, who French media have identified as a 21-year-old Tunisian migrant who arrived in France just a few weeks ago, was also shot dead by police.

Wednesday's attacks follow the killing of a French school teacher earlier this month.

Samuel Paty was beheaded near Paris after he showed his students controversial caricatures of Islam's Prophet Muhammed by satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.

In September, two people were wounded in a stabbing attack outside Charlie Hebdo's former offices in Paris.

French President Emmanuel Macron vowed to crack down on Islamist extremism in the wake of Paty's murder.

Speaking at the scene of the Nice attack on Wednesday, Macron said he would step up the deployment of soldiers at sensitive sites across the country, more than doubling the number of soldiers located at places of worship and other locations to 7,000.

France also raised its security alert to the highest possible level following the attack.

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