Perpetrator of Paris terror attack reportedly visited Turkey last year

The perpetrator of an attack in central Paris on Monday had been to Turkey many times in 2016 and had gone to France through Turkey, according to a statement made by the Paris Prosecutor’s Office, CNN Türk reported on Thursday.

The perpetrator, who died in the incident, left a letter to his brother-in-law declaring his allegiance to the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL), reported the Diken news website.

A suspect who tried to attack security forces on the Champs-Elysees shopping district in Paris Monday afternoon — when he rammed his car into a police van — had a rifle and explosives in his vehicle, French investigators said.

The attacker died shortly after the incident, the French Interior Minister Gerard Collomb said. The attacker, a 31-year-old man from the Paris suburb of Argenteuil, was badly burned after his car exploded when he deliberately crashed it into a police van. The police van caught fire, but it was quickly contained, officials said.

Authorities discovered a gas tank and an AK-47 rifle in the attacker’s car, Fox News confirmed. The man had been flagged by investigators earlier for extremism, French police said.

The attacker was identified as Adam Dzaziri. Dzaziri, who had been raised in the Salafi Islamic ideology, didn’t have a criminal record but he had been on France’s security watch list since 2015 due to ties to “the radical Islamist movement. France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor has opened an investigation into the incident.

Turkey’s autocratic President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan’s threatening statement on March 21 had drew reactions from European capitals. President Erdoğan had stated that “Europeans will not be able to safely walk on the streets if they persist in their attitude against Turkey.” Speaking during a meeting of the Anatolian Publishers Association in Ankara, Erdoğan had said, “Turkey is not a country you can push around, not a country whose citizens you can drag on the ground.”

He was referring to Dutch police who forcefully dispersed Turkish demonstrators in Rotterdam on March 11 following the expulsion from the country of Turkish Minister of Family and Social Policy Fatma Betül Sayan Kaya after she was prevented from holding a campaign rally at the Turkish Consulate General residence in Rotterdam.

“If Europe continues this way, no European in any part of the world can safely walk on the streets. Europe will be damaged by this. We, as Turkey, call on Europe to respect human rights and democracy,” he had said.

It was also reported that the suspects of the terrorist attacks in Stockholm, capital city of Sweden and in Russia’s popular city St. Petersburg were deported by Turkey in 2015. According to the media reports, the Uzbek national suspected of mowing down pedestrians in Stockholm on April 7, 2017 was deported from Turkey two years ago while he tried to join the ranks of the Islamic State of Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) jihadist group in Syria. (SCF with June 22, 2017

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