Two women held over Paris knife attack: prosecutor

File Photo showing the front of the french 'Palais de Justice' France's court of justice. (Reuters)
Updated 17 May 2018
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Two women held over Paris knife attack: prosecutor

PARIS: Two women were detained for questioning Thursday in connection with a deadly knife attack in Paris last weekend, France’s top anti-terror prosecutor Francois Molins said.
Molins also said that Abdoul Hakim A., a friend of the knifeman Khamzat Azimov, would be brought before a judge Thursday and potentially charged over his role in the attack.
He said he did not want to give more details of the two women for now, but a source close to the inquiry said one was Ines Hamza, a radicalized 19-year-old who married Abdoul Hakim A. before trying to leave for Syria in January 2017.
Azimov killed a 29-year-old man in the busy Opera district of the French capital on Saturday night before being shot and killed by police.
Molins said five other people had been wounded, and not four as previously reported.
He also said the deceased victim had been stabbed six times, with at least one “indicating an attempt to cut his throat.”
Witnesses said Azimov yelled “Allahu akbar” (God is greatest) during the rampage, for which the Daesh group has claimed responsibility, later releasing a video purporting to show Azimov pledging allegiance to the extremist group.
Azimov, a 20-year-old naturalized Frenchman of Chechen origin, had been on France’s two main watch lists for suspected radicals since 2016.
His friend Abdoul Hakim, also 20 with Chechen origins and also on watch lists, was detained Sunday in the eastern city of Strasbourg, where the two men grew up, and later transferred to the headquarters of France’s domestic intelligence services in Paris.
“He has denied any implication in either preparing or carrying out the acts as well as any recent links with Khamzat Azimov, claiming not to have seen or been in contact with him for several months,” Molins said.
But he added that examinations of telephone networks showed that shortly before the attack, Abdoul Hakim has sent his sister a text message of “a militants' chant regularly used by Daesh.”
Investigators want to determine if Abdoul Hakim “may have influenced Azimov in his extremist quest or knew he was planning this attack,” the source said.
During a search of his home in Strasbourg police found seven cellphones but were unable to locate the phone he used most often, sources close to the case said.
“This telephone, he probably threw it away. He told investigators that he had gone to the gym and lost it there,” Interior Minister Gerard Collomb told RTL radio on Wednesday.
He also revealed that Azimov had carried out his attack “with one of his mother’s kitchen knives.”
Azimov’s parents were released from custody on Tuesday after investigators found no incriminating elements during questioning.
The attack brings to 246 the number of victims from a string of attacks in france by Daesh extremists since 2015.
 

 


Pompeo pledges close cooperation with India but trade, defense issues unresolved

Updated 26 June 2019
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Pompeo pledges close cooperation with India but trade, defense issues unresolved

  • But US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave few specifics of how they would overcome disputes on issues
  • The disputes have led to higher trade tariffs by the two countries and created unease over the depth of their security alliance

NEW DELHI: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo sought to reduce heightened trade tension with India on Wednesday, promising a renewed focus on negotiating improved trade and investment ties between the two nations.
But Pompeo, on a visit to India, gave few specifics of how they would overcome disputes on issues ranging from access to Indian markets for leading American companies to New Delhi’s demands for foreign firms to store Indian data in the country, and exports of steel and aluminum to the United States.
The two nations are “friends who can help each other all around the world,” Pompeo told a joint news conference with Indian Foreign Minister Subrahmanyam Jaishankar after they met.
The current differences were expressed “in the spirit of friendship,” he added.
The disputes have led to higher trade tariffs by the two countries and created unease over the depth of their security alliance.
In particular, the sudden introduction of new e-commerce rules for foreign investors in February angered the Americans because it showed New Delhi was prepared to move the goalposts to hurt two of the largest US companies, discount retailer Walmart, and Amazon.com Inc.
Walmart last year invested $16 billion to buy control of Indian e-commerce firm Flipkart.
Just days before Pompeo’s visit, India slapped higher retaliatory tariffs on 28 US products following Washington’s withdrawal of key trade privileges for New Delhi.
Jaishankar, a former Indian ambassador to the United States, played down the spat on Wednesday.
“If you trade with someone and they are your biggest trading partner, it is impossible you don’t have trade issues,” he said.
India’s ties with Russia and Iran, both now subject to US sanctions, are also a sore point.
US pressure has led India to stop buying oil from Iran, a top energy supplier. The United States has also stepped up pressure on India not to proceed with its purchase of S-400 surface-to-air missile systems from Russia.
The missile deal and Iranian oil were both discussed during their meeting, Jaishankar and Pompeo said, but mentioned no resolution of either at the news conference.
Earlier, Pompeo met Prime Minister Narendra Modi for talks at his official residence in the capital, New Delhi, and they exchanged handshakes in images broadcast on television.
“The Prime Minister expressed his strong commitment to achieve the full potential of bilateral relations in trade and economy, energy, defense, counterterrorism and people-to-people contacts,” the foreign ministry said in a statement, without elaborating.
Pompeo is expected to round off the trip with a policy speech hosted by the US embassy, before departing on Thursday for a summit of leaders of the Group of 20 nations in Japan.