Authorities investigate knife attack west of Paris

The Islamic State’s Amaq News Agency quickly claimed responsibility for a knife attack west of Paris earlier today. Initial reports say two people were killed and another injured. The incident was carried out in Trappes, which is west of Paris.

Gérard Collomb, France’s interior minister, tweeted that the attacker has been neutralized and French officials “are already investigating the circumstances of this tragedy.”

Citing a spokesman for the interior ministry, CNN reported that the two people who perished were “the attacker’s mother and sister.” Authorities are investigating the possibility that the knifings were the result of a family dispute turned violent. It often takes time for authorities to untangle the full story, as multiple motivations and causes could be in play.

Over the past few years, Amaq News has claimed a string of small-scale attacks in the West on behalf of the so-called caliphate. The language employed in its latest statement is virtually identical to past claims. Amaq says the assailant is one of the Islamic State’s “fighters” and “carried out the attack in response to calls for targeting nationals of coalition countries.”

This has been a consistent theme in Amaq’s messaging since the Islamic State’s first spokesman, Abu Muhammad al-Adnani, called on would-be jihadists to support the caliphate’s cause by lashing out in their home countries. In a speech released yesterday, the Islamic State’s leader, Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, emphasized this theme, saying one attack in the West is equal to “thousands” of operations inside the lands the group once controlled.

Thus far, Amaq hasn’t provided any details regarding the attacker’s identity or offered proof of his ties to the so-called caliphate. However, it is easy for sympathizers to contact the jihadists via various social media applications, which the Islamic State’s handlers have used to “remote-control” operations in the past.

On May 12, Khamzat Azimov, a 21-year-old born in Chechnya, assaulted several people with a knife near an opera house in Paris. One person died as a result. One day later, Amaq released a video of a masked man, whom it said was the attacker. The masked speaker in Amaq’s video swore allegiance to Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi.

Thomas Joscelyn is a Senior Fellow at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies and the Senior Editor for FDD's Long War Journal.

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