Marseille attack suspect had shown Tunisian passport to police

Marseille attack suspect had shown Tunisian passport to police”

Amaq, ISIS' media wing, issued a statement on social media late Sunday calling the attacker a "soldier of the Islamic State".

Last Friday, the man was detained in Lyon on suspicions of shoplifting, Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said at a press conference Monday.

The prosecutor said that when he was arrested in Lyon the attacker had handed over a Tunisian passport belonging to an Ahmed H. But investigators were still trying to confirm whether this is indeed the real identity of the knifeman.

The man told police he lived in Lyon but was "homeless and out of work" apart from the occasional painting and decorating jobs. The officials said he wasn't on France's extremist watch list. He was released the following afternoon without charge.

"This identity and the different aliases are unknown to the specialized anti-terrorist services", he told reporters, adding his office was verifying the authenticity of the Tunisian.

Seven minutes later "he got up sudden [ly] and went towards the first victim, whom he stabbed several times".

It has emerged that Sunday's black-clad attacker, who was shot dead by soldiers on patrol at the station, was known to police after being arrested for a string of minor offences. "He fled the scene but made a circular route back to the second victim, whom he attacked with several violent stabs of the knife".

Another small kitchen knife and a mobile phone were found on the attacker, Molins said, adding that he was known to have consumed hard drugs. The two victims, named as Mauranne, 20, a medical student from Marseille, and Laura, 21, a trainee nurse from Lyon, were cousins.

The deaths come as parliament prepares to vote tomorrow on a controversial anti-terror bill that will transpose some of the exceptional powers granted to the police under a 22-month-old state of emergency into national law.

The suspect, killed by police after Sunday's attack, was identified by his fingerprints.

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