Paris prosecutor casts new doubt on identity of shot man

Reuters News
Posted: Jan 08, 2016 4:25 AM

PARIS (Reuters) - Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins cast new doubt on the identity of a man shot dead by police in the capital on Thursday as authorities seek to establish whether he represented a significant threat or was acting alone and without support.

The man was killed as he tried to enter a police station wielding a meat cleaver. An official account said he shouted Allahu Akbar, (God is Greatest), and was equipped with what turned out to be a fake suicide belt.

The incident took place on the first anniversary of deadly Islamist attacks on the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in the French capital.

Molins told a French radio station the man may have given a false identity some months ago. He also said a mobile phone found on the body was being examined and contained a German SIM card.

"I am not at all sure the identity he gave was real," Molins told France Inter radio on Friday.

A judicial source said on Thursday that the dead man was Ali Sallah, a Moroccan born in 1995 in Casablanca. He was homeless and known to police for theft in 2012 in the Var region of southern France.

In his comments on Friday, Molins said authorities know from fingerprints that the dead man identified himself as Sallah to police when they intercepted him last year.

However, he said a sheet of paper found on his body gave a different name, and a Tunisian nationality.

Molins said that although the name Ali Sallah was not known to intelligence services, "We will need to establish the identity - know which is the real identity."

Also on the sheet of paper was the Islamic State flag and a claim of allegiance to the militant group written in Arabic.

Islamic State, which controls swathes of Iraq and Syria, has claimed responsibility for another deadly attack in Paris on Nov. 13 in which 130 people died.

(Reporting by Sophie Louet; Writing by Andrew Callus; Editing by Leigh Thomas)