France’s President Emmanuel Macron has vowed to wage “an unrelenting fight” against Islamic extremists at a memorial to honour four Paris police staff who were murdered by their colleague last week.
Mickael Harpon, a computer expert who worked in the Paris police headquarters’ intelligence-gathering department, stabbed to death three police officers and an administrative worker before being shot dead by police.
Prosecutors said initial investigations had shown that the 45-year-old Muslim convert, who was born on the French island of Martinique, had been radicalised and was in contact with a hardline Salafist iman in the months prior to the deadly rampage.
“We will wage an unrelenting fight in the face of Islamist terrorism,” Mr Macron vowed at a ceremony on Tuesday.
He said that it was “inconceivable and unacceptable” that Harpon, who had worked for the police since 2003, had carried out the killings “in the very place where we pursue terrorists and criminals”.
Mr Macron said he wanted to build a “society of vigilance” in France, which has seen several extremist attacks in recent years.
Pressure has mounted on the French government to explain how a radicalised individual could have been able to work in the police with access to classified data within the Paris police’s intelligence division.
Interior Minister Christophe Castaner, who is facing calls to resign from opposition MPs, acknowledged there had been “failings”.
The killer had previously “justified” a deadly attack on satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in front of colleagues but no written report was made.
Mr Castaner posthumously bestowed the Legion of Honour, France’s highest award, on the four victims. The trainee police officer who killed the assailant will also receive the award.
The memorial came on the same day that media reports said a USB stick found at the home of Harpon contained extremist propaganda.
Le Parisien, citing sources close to the inquiry, said the memory stick also contained the details of dozens of other officers. However, it said it was unclear whether the killer had the stick as part of his job or whether it had been extracted from the office.