Father of Strasbourg attacker said his son backed Daesh

The Christmas market in the eastern city of Strasbourg, seat of the European Parliament, is the largest in France. (File/AFP)
Updated 16 December 2018
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Father of Strasbourg attacker said his son backed Daesh

  • Shortly after Chekatt’s death, the Daesh group’s Amaq news agency claimed he was a “soldier” of the group
  • Chekatt had been on a French intelligence watch list for radicalism and was convicted 27 times for criminal offenses

PARIS: The man described as the father of the 29-year-old suspect in this week’s deadly Christmas market attack in Strasbourg says his son subscribed to the beliefs of the Daesh group.
The interview with Abdelkrim Chekatt by the state-run France 2 television channel was shown Saturday night, two days after the son was killed in a confrontation with three police officers in his childhood neighborhood in Strasbourg following a massive manhunt. Four people died in the Tuesday night attack. A dozen others were wounded.
The Christmas market in the eastern city of Strasbourg, seat of the European Parliament, is the largest in France. It reopened on Friday after being closed during the search for the suspect.
Chekatt said he had seen his son, Cherif Chekatt, three days before the attack but couldn’t contact him while he was on the run.
He acknowledged that his son backed the Daesh group.
“He’d say, for example, that Daesh, fights for the just cause and all that,” the red-bearded father said, using the common term in France and elsewhere for the Daesh group.
The interview, initially outdoors with the father, continued briefly inside with Cheriff Chekatt’s mother, Rouadja Rouag, who expressed shock and sorrow for the deaths. France 2 said the couple had been divorced for a long time.
Abdelkrim Chekatt, a French-Algerian, said he’d tried in the past to dissuade his son from backing the Islamic State, saying, “You don’t see the atrocities they commit.” The son would reply that “it’s not them,” the father said.
Shortly after Chekatt’s death, the Daesh group’s Amaq news agency claimed he was a “soldier” of the group. French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner rejected the claim as “totally opportunistic.”
The father and mother and two siblings of the suspected killer were among seven people held for questioning. French media reported that the family members were released. The three others, still in custody, are unrelated but close to Chekatt.
The young Chekatt had been on a French intelligence watch list for radicalism and was convicted 27 times for criminal offenses — the first time at age 13 — mainly in France but also in Germany and Switzerland. Investigators are trying to determine whether he had accomplices or logistical support.
The father said he went to police of his own accord and on a suspicion the night of the son’s rampage with a handgun and a knife.
He said he told police that “if ever you locate Cherif, tell me. I’ll go to him and try to reason with him to give up.”
He also said that if his son had told him about a project to kill “I would have denounced him, and he wouldn’t have killed or been killed.”


China suspends Canadian meat imports amid Huawei dispute

Updated 26 June 2019
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China suspends Canadian meat imports amid Huawei dispute

  • The latest action against Canada comes as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau heads to Japan for the G-20 summit
  • Before acting against Canadian meat, China previously stopped importing certain Canadian products like canola

TORONTO: China is suspending all meat imports from Canada amid their dispute over the Canadian detention of a top executive at the Chinese tech company Huawei.
The Chinese Embassy in Ottawa said in a statement on its website Tuesday that the move follows Chinese customs inspectors’ detection of residue from a restricted feed additive, called ractopamine, in a batch of Canadian pork products. It is permitted in Canada but banned in China.
“China has taken urgent preventive measures and requested the Canadian government to suspend the issuance of certificates for meat exported to China,” the statement said.
Meng Wanzhou, the Huawei CFO and daughter of the company’s founder, was arrested Dec. 1 in Canada at the request of US authorities, who want to try her on fraud charges.
China then detained two Canadians and sentenced another to death in an apparent attempt to pressure for her release.
The latest action against Canada comes as Prime Minister Justin Trudeau heads to Japan for the G-20 summit. US President Donald Trump is expected to meet with his Chinese counterpart amid trade talks.
Meng’s arrest set off a diplomatic furor among the three countries, complicating high-stakes US-China trade talks and severely damaging Beijing’s relations with Ottawa. Canada wants Trump to speak on behalf of Canada to Chinese President Xi Jinping. The Chinese have refused to talk to senior Canadian government officials, including Foreign Minister Chrystia Freeland. Trudeau had hoped to meet with Xi at the G-20 but that appears unlikely.
Before acting against Canadian meat, China previously stopped importing certain Canadian products like canola.
Justine Lesage, a spokeswoman for Canada’s agriculture minister, said in a statement that the Canadian Food and Inspection Agency identified an issue involving inauthentic export certificates that could affect the export of pork and beef products to China.
She said the agency has “taken measures to address this issue and is continuing to work closely with industry partners and Chinese officials.”
“The Canadian food system is one of the best in the world and we are confident in the safety of Canadian products and Canadian exports,” she said.