The suspect in an assault that resulted in the death of a tourist and injuries to two others in Paris was identified by French authorities on Sunday. Armand Rajabpour-Miyandoab, known for his previous interactions with French intelligence due to Islamist extremism, had also pledged allegiance to the Islamic State before the attack, according to Jean-François Ricard, France’s top antiterrorism prosecutor.

Despite being flagged for radicalization and having a history of terrorism convictions, Rajabpour-Miyandoab also struggled with psychiatric issues. Authorities had not observed any imminent attack plans, even after an alert raised by the suspect’s mother, creating a complex challenge in monitoring extremists with mental health concerns.

The assault not only underscores the difficulty in surveilling individuals with both radical tendencies and mental health issues but also raises concerns about the security preparations for the upcoming 2024 Summer Olympic Games in Paris, a priority for President Emmanuel Macron’s administration.

Responding to the seriousness of the incident, Prime Minister Élisabeth Borne conducted a special cabinet meeting to review security measures, handling of high-risk individuals, and the aftermath of the fatal attack.

While acknowledging a persistent threat from Islamist terrorism, French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin assured that preparations for the Olympic Games would ensure security, particularly regarding the challenging security needs of events like the opening ceremony on the Seine.

France, previously the target of significant Islamist terrorist attacks, has been on high alert since 2015. Despite efforts to thwart over 40 attack plots since 2017, the ongoing conflict between Hamas and Israel has heightened the terrorism threat in the country.

The assault targeted a 23-year-old German tourist near the Eiffel Tower. Rajabpour-Miyandoab attacked the victim with a hammer and a knife, injuring two others during the subsequent pursuit by the police. Although the suspect falsely claimed to possess an explosive belt, he was apprehended without one, subdued by law enforcement using a stun gun.

Before the assault, Rajabpour-Miyandoab recorded a video pledging allegiance to the Islamic State and expressing support for jihadists globally. This footage was shared on a platform, initially Twitter, with recent posts referencing Hamas and the Gaza conflict.

Rajabpour-Miyandoab, along with family members and associates, remains in police custody for questioning. His path to radicalization began in 2015 when he converted to Islam and swiftly adopted jihadist ideologies. Convicted in 2018 for conspiring to carry out a terrorist attack, investigations revealed his consumption of online propaganda by the Islamic State.

Upon his release in 2020, he was in contact with individuals involved in high-profile attacks in France. Despite strict conditions upon release, including psychiatric treatment, his treatment ceased in April 2023. Security services continued monitoring him, even after his psychiatric treatment stopped.

The case underscores the complexity in tracking individuals with a history of radicalization and psychiatric issues, presenting a challenge for intelligence services in effectively assessing potential threats.

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