France paid a national tribute on Friday to honor a policeman who was stabbed to death last week at a police station in Rambouillet, southwest of Paris, in what the authorities said was an Islamic terrorist attack.
Police administrative officer Stéphanie Monfermé, mother of two, was stabbed in the stomach and throat on April 23 at the entrance to the police station where she worked. His assailant was shot dead by the police.
Monfermé was posthumously awarded the Legion of Honor, France’s greatest distinction, in a ceremony led by Prime Minister Jean Castex and attended by five other ministers and police officers.
“Stephanie was murdered because she represented the French police and the state authority. She was murdered because she served France,” said Castex in a tribute to Monfermé.
“Islamic terrorism has declared war on us, but it is a war led by cowards. Only a coward could attack a woman who, because of her work, did not carry a weapon,” added the prime minister.
🇫🇷 French Prime Minister Jean #Castex is presiding over a national tribute to the policeman killed the week before in a knife attack at a police station in #Rambouillet.
President Emmanuel Macron attended Monfermé’s private funeral, along with the victim’s family, on Thursday.
France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor said the assassination marked the “17th Islamic terrorist attack against security forces in France since 2014”.
The prosecutor said the Tunisian-born suspect, identified as Jamel G., had no criminal record or evidence of radicalization, and that investigators are trying to determine whether other people or groups have helped or inspired him.
The suspect had heard religious songs urging “jihad” just before the attack, the prosecutor added, and witnesses heard him shout “Allahu akbar,” in Arabic for “God is great”, during the attack.
Several police officers have been killed by Islamic militants in recent years.
In 2019, a convert to Islam who worked at the Paris police headquarters killed three policemen and a civilian official. In 2016, a Frenchman of Moroccan origin stabbed a police commander to death outside his home in a Paris suburb and killed his partner, who also worked for the police.
The day after Islamic snipers killed 12 people in the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, another Islamist killed a police officer.
The French government introduced a new law this week to tighten up anti-terrorism measures, including increasing the use of computer algorithms to detect potential terrorist threats among Internet users.