French President Emmanuel Macron led a national tribute Tuesday to the four police employees slain in last week's knife attack in Paris, calling them "victims of Islamic terrorism", reports FRANCE 24.
At a ceremony at the police headquarters in the heart of Paris where they were stabbed to death in last Thursday's bloody rampage, a solemn Macron endured drizzly rain as he paid homage to the three police officers and one police administrator killed by their own colleague.
"They had made the choice to wear the uniform, to devote their lives to protecting others. They died in service, at work," said Macron, who also met privately with families of the victims.
"The whole nation [must] unite, mobilise, act... We will only win if our country gets up to fight against this underground Islamism that corrupts the children of France," he added.
“It was a nationalistic and angry speech by French President Emmanuel Macron as he paid tribute to the four members of the police force who were killed by one of their own last Thursday,” said FRANCE 24’s Nadia Massih, reporting from the police headquarters after the ceremony. “Emmanuel Macron pointing the finger at Islamist extremism and saying it was an ideology that France would continue to fight.”
But Macron’s government, Massih noted, “has come under increasing pressure in recent days as it’s emerged that the individual attacker had praised the Charlie Hebdo attacks as far back as 2015, but no action was taken at that time.”
French prosecutors are investigating the killings as a potential act of terrorism as it transpired the knifeman likely had links with members of an ultra-conservative Islamic movement.
Mickael Harpon, a 45-year-old IT assistant with a hearing impairment who worked in the police intelligence unit, converted to Islam around 10 years ago and had recently adopted increasingly radical beliefs, according to investigators. He used a kitchen knife and an oyster shucker to kill his four colleagues last Thursday before he was gunned down by a police officer.