French interior minister rebuffs calls to step down over Paris police HQ attack

Source: Xinhua| 2019-10-07 21:43:17|Editor: xuxin
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PARIS, Oct. 7 (Xinhua) -- French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner said on Monday that he had no plan to resign after the opposition pointed fingers at his failure to prevent the deadly knife attack in the Paris police headquarters last Thursday.

"I don't feel personally responsible... and my resignation is not the issue," Castaner told France Inter radio channel.

"I think that when police are shaken by what's happened, the interior minister must not raise such questions. He has to lead his administration and internal inquiries necessary to change what should been altered," he said, admitting that "there were failings."

Castaner, one of President Emmanuel Macron's earliest backers, has been on the hot seat, with the opposition calling for his resignation.

They accused the government of playing down some clues that could have helped to prevent the deadly assault inside the police headquarters.

Mickael Harpon, a 45-year-old IT assistant expert in the intelligence service, stabbed to death three police officers and one female administrative employee inside the building before he was shot dead by another officer last Thursday.

Shortly after the attack, Castaner said the attacker had never given the "slightest reason for alarm."

But investigators later revealed that Harpon had been radicalized and defended "atrocities committed in the name of that religion" related to the Islamist attack on the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo in 2015, in which 12 people were killed, according to anti-terror prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard.

French police have often been targets of Jihadist group attacks in recent years due to the country's military intervention in Iraq, Syria and the Sahel region.

"Today, the terrorist risk remains high to very high," said Castaner, noting that police have foiled three terrorist attacks since the beginning of 2019.