LONDON: French far-right politician Marine Le Pen has been criticized for demanding tighter immigration controls after a police employee was murdered by an Islamist who had arrived in the country illegally.
President Emmanuel Macron’s government said she had behaved like a vulture by politicizing Friday’s killing of Stephanie, 47, an administration employee whose surname has not been released.
Tunisian Jamel Gorchene, 37, stabbed Stephanie to death in the doorway of a police station in Rambouillet, 30 miles from Paris. Officers shot and killed him after he refused to surrender his weapon.
Jean-Francois Ricard, chief antiterrorism prosecutor, said Gorchene “looked at religious chants and videos glorifying jihad and martyrdom.”
Ricard added that Gorchene’s father “said he had noticed behavioral troubles since the beginning of this year.”
The killer had consulted a psychiatrist, he said. The father and four others are being held for questioning.
The Macron administration has been depicted by Le Pen as being weak on national security. She has demanded that the French state deport illegal immigrants and carry out “the eradication of Islamism.”
She said: “The French are surrounded by criminals and crime. The country needs a turn of the screw to be safe again.”
Government spokesperson Gabriel Attal told Le Parisien: “Every terrorist attack has its victims and its suffering but also its vultures.”
Le Pen is expected to face off against Macron in next spring’s presidential elections. She has demanded an explanation as to why Gorchene was granted residence in December, after 11 years as an illegal immigrant. He had not attracted attention from anti-terrorism services prior to his killing.
Islamist violence has been a major political issue in France ahead of next year’s elections. A bill is due before Parliament this week to extend police powers to enhance their counterterror capabilities, including the use of algorithms to monitor encrypted mobile communications.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said: “We are dealing with isolated individuals, increasingly younger and unknown to intelligence services, and often without links to established Islamist groups.”
He added that 300 foreigners had been expelled for suspected radical associations in the last year, and that “Islamism remains the greatest danger and our hand is not trembling.”