France: questions about the motivations of the Syrian who attacked children end on Saturday

France: questions about the motivations of the Syrian who attacked children are coming to an end Saturday


The custody of the Syrian refugee who stabbed six people, including four very young children in a park in Annecy, in the French Alps, ends on Saturday, with investigators still struggling to unravel his motivations despite his silence. 

The Annecy prosecutor, Line Bonnet-Mathis, is to hold a press conference in the middle of the day devoted to the legal consequences for Abdalmasih H., whose The condition was deemed Friday “compatible with police custody” after a psychiatric expertise.

Since his arrest, the 31-year-old assailant has given no explanation and has “obstructed police custody”, in particular by “rolling on the ground”. He is also “totally mute”, sources close to the investigation told AFP.

“Madness is too easy an excuse, it is important to know that he is auditioned and that we do not consider him simply as someone delusional,” Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin commented on Friday. “He probably has a motivation that the investigators will try to understand,” he said on the BFMTV media.

“Even if there is no hearing, the investigations are continuing”, in particular “to establish his personality, his career, what he has done since he has been in France”, specified a close source. of the investigation.

As soon as the news of the attack became known on Thursday, leaders of the right-wing and far-right opposition denounced “massive immigration”, and spoke for some of “radical Islamism” and “terrorism” before it is known that the attacker is Christian, that he acted “without apparent terrorist motive”, according to the prosecution.

“Not getting used to”

The day after the tragedy, Friday was marked by the visit to the bedside of victims of French President Emmanuel Macron and his wife Brigitte, with, according to the Head of State, “positive news” about their condition.

Among the four injured children, aged 22 to 36 months , a Dutch girl, hospitalized in Geneva, is “out of danger”, according to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Netherlands.

Emmanuel and Brigitte Macron met in the morning with the nursing staff and the families of the three other children hospitalized in Grenoble.

The presidential couple then went to Annecy, to the hospital and then to the prefecture to salute all those who gave “help and support” during the drama that shook the city on Thursday.

“Attacking children is the most barbaric act there is,” denounced the French president. “There are things that are not digestible. The violence behind these acts is unheard of. We don't have to get used to it.”

The attack, which took place in public and in broad daylight, deeply traumatized Annecy, a usually peaceful town. Shocked, hundreds of people marched all day Friday past the small playground, the site of the attack, to gather and lay flowers.

Emma Cluzel, a 22-year-old from Annecy, explained that she felt “a lot of sadness, hatred, anger, incomprehension”. “We are not prepared” for such events, confided Leo Ganassali, a 21-year-old salesman.

A hero who does not want to be

This day of tribute ended with a mass for the victims at the Saint-Pierre-aux-Liens cathedral in Annecy.

“When I learned that this man accompanied his gesture, his crime, with the words “in the name of Jesus”, of course, I was and I am still terribly hurt and moved. Carrying out such an act of violence in the name of Jesus is a perversion,” said Bishop Yves Le Saux in his homily.

“Whether one is a Christian, a Muslim or a believer, killing or wanting to kill in the name of God is an absolute perversion”, he added.

Among the participants in the mass was Henri, a young Catholic who became within hours a celebrity for trying to intervene during the knife attack using his backpack.

“I don't like that term hero at all. I think I acted as all French people could and should have acted. […] There will be no before or no after. I will remain as I am,” he said before mass.

Meeting President Macron on Friday afternoon with other witnesses, police officers, rescue workers and caregivers, this lover of cathedrals confided to him having made “a small request”: “to be able to attend the inauguration of the Notre-Dame-de-Paris cathedral”, once it has been rebuilt. “Request granted,” replied the Head of State.