Paris hammer attack suspect worked as a journalist in Sweden: report

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Paris hammer attack suspect worked as a journalist in Sweden: report
The man who attacked a police officer is seen lying wounded on the esplanade of the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris. Photo: David Metreau/AP/TT

The man who attacked a police officer with a hammer outside the Notre Dame cathedral in Paris on Tuesday is thought to have previously worked as a journalist in Sweden, French and Swedish media report.


The suspect is believed to be Farid Ikken, who previously lived in Sweden and worked as a journalist for the public-service broadcaster Swedish Radio, the Swedish tabloid Aftonbladet reports.
The attack on Tuesday afternoon took place outside the famous Notre Dame cathedral in Paris, where a man hurled himself at a police officer on patrol outside one of the French capital's most visited tourist spots.
The man, who was armed with a hammer and two knives, shouted "this is for Syria" when he landed the blow on the officer.
Another policeman responded by firing twice at the attacker, who was left injured and lying on the ground. He was later taken to hospital. The policeman sustained minor injuries.
According to French media, the suspect is Farid Ikken, 40, who was born in Algeria. In 2004 he married a Swedish woman and moved to Sweden, but the couple separated the following year. 
Ikken reportedly moved several times in the following years, and studied journalism in Stockholm and Uppsala.
He then went on to work as a journalist, according to Arnaud Mercier, professor of political communication at the Panthéon-Assas University in Paris.
"The man worked as a freelance journalist for different newspapers and radio in Sweden between 2009 and 2010," Mercier told Aftonbladet.
Swedish Radio confirms a person by that name was an intern at the company for six weeks in 2010. He was placed in Gothenburg, where he mainly worked in local journalism, the broadcaster said.
Swedish public records show Ikken left Sweden in 2013 to briefly return to Algeria, before going to France. He met Professor Mercier in the south-eastern French town of Metz while studying for a PhD.
"I am perhaps blue-eyed. But there was not the least trace of him being an Islamist. He didn't have a beard, and he didn't wear special clothes," Mercier told Aftonbladet.
"He never said anything bad about Sweden, and he enjoyed being a journalist," he added.
Newswire AFP reports that the suspect had claimed to be a "soldier of the caliphate" of Isis, citing a source close to the investigation.
The Swedish Security Service (Säpo) had no previous records of Ikken, but a Säpo spokesperson told Aftonbladet they were following developments.
The video below, taken from surveillance cameras, shows the moment the attacker struck, before he was neutralized by a police officer.


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