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Stabbing Attack Kills French Police Officers At Home; Their Son Is Saved

Two French police officers — a couple who lived in a suburb of Paris with their 3-year-old — died Monday night in an attack after which their assailant broadcast a live video from their home via Facebook, according to media reports in France. A police raid killed the attacker; the young boy survived.

NPR's Eleanor Beardsley reports for our Newscast unit:

"The attack took place on two off-duty officers at their home about 30 miles west of Paris. The attacker surprised the male police officer at his home as he arrived from work, stabbing him repeatedly.

"Then the attacker went into the house and took the officer's wife and 3-year-old son hostage. Police launched a raid after negotiations with the assailant failed. They found the wife dead. The child has been rescued.

"The assailant, a French citizen, was known to police for petty crime and for involvement in a jihadi recruiting network for which he did jail time. The assailant claimed the attack for Islamic State."

In the wake of the attack in Magnanville, a community in Yvelines, Eleanor adds, "The French interior minister has now authorized police to bring their weapons home with them."

The couple's names have not been released; according to Le Parisien, the man was a commander, 42, who had recently been promoted. The woman was 35 and worked in the administrative unit of a police station in the town of Mantes-la-Jolie, where her partner had worked before moving to the police station in Les Mureaux.

The authorities say the assailant's name was Larossi Abballa; France 24 and other news outlets report that three of his associates have been arrested over possible connections to Monday night's murders.

According to journalist David Thompson of France's public radio service RPI, Abballa used the Facebook Live video feed on his personal account to speak from inside the couple's home for some 13 minutes Monday night.

Abballa's Facebook account was suspended after the video was posted, RPI reports.

Copyright 2021 NPR. To see more, visit https://www.npr.org.

Bill Chappell is a writer and editor on the News Desk in the heart of NPR's newsroom in Washington, D.C.