Tunisia’s northeastern town Masaken may be quiet but it’s made the headlines for all the wrong reasons.
This is the hometown of the Tunisian suspect who fatally stabbed a French female police officer on Friday in the Paris suburb of Rambouillet.
The suspect was identified by authorities as Djamel G.
A childhood friend of his says he was shocked by what transpired.
“He was a man who belonged to an average family and he was a nice person. We grew up together, we lived in another district (Kdada),” said Djamel’s friend Mohamed Ben Abdejlil.
“At the age of 22 or 23 he left Tunisia and went to France. We even met in Paris (in 2015). He had a job but he had no residency papers (at the time). I was shocked at what he did because he is not the kind of person of terrorism.”
The 37-year-old man of Tunisian nationality was neutralised by French police following the attack.
The victim, a National Police employee, had left the station to extend her time on a parking meter and was followed into the entry area by the attacker.
The suspect entered France illegally in 2009 and was given residency papers in 2020, a judicial official said.
He had staked out the police station ahead of time, anti-terrorism prosecutor Jean-France Ricard said.
French media reported he had no criminal record or record of radicalization.
However, witnesses heard him say “Allahu akbar!” Arabic for “God is great,” during the attack, said the judicial official who was not authorized to discuss the investigation publicly.