Two Dead and One Injured by Knife Attack in France

Two people died today and one was wounded in France by a knife attack perpetrated by an individual in the commune of Trappes, south of this capital, a fact that was claimed by the terrorist group Islamic State (EI ).

Around 10:00 local time the man assaulted several passersby in the street and then locked himself in a pavilion.

The RAID (elite unit of the national police) intervened on the scene and finally the attacker was killed. The motivation of the attacker seems difficult to define because some clues point to a family drama, but others to a possible terrorist event, said the authorities.

Around 10:00 local time an individual assaulted several passersby in the commune of Trappes, south of this capital, before being killed by the forces of order.

The most recent information indicates that his mother and sister are among the victims, which points to a possible family conflict.

However, the attacker was booked by the police since 2016 for 'apologizing for terrorism', shouted 'Allah is great' before being shot down, and the extremist Islamic State group vindicated the action, for which the authorities cannot discard the mobile either terrorist.

Interior Minister Gerard Collomb told the press that according to preliminary data, the attacker was suffering from psychiatric problems.

For the time being, the Anti-Terrorist Prosecutor's Office has not been involved in the investigations.

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Terrorists behind Paris & Brussels attacks got over €50K in welfare - report

At least five terrorists involved in the Paris and Brussels terrorist attacks were receiving welfare benefits from the state, the Wall Street Journal reports, citing local authorities.

Belgian financial investigators looking into the terrorist attacks found that Salah Abdeslam, charged with taking part in the Paris assaults, had collected €19,000 ($21,000) in welfare payments, which were stopped just a few weeks before the attacks were carried out in the French capital in November, WSJ reports.  

However, Abdeslam should not have been receiving payments as he partly owned a bar, which he was managing at the time. Belgian officials say this made him ineligible for welfare. 

In total, the authorities say that five terrorists who took part in the Paris and Brussels attacks were able to claim a total of over €50,000 ($56,000).

Tom Keatinge, director of the Centre for Financial Crime and Security Studies at the Royal United Services Institute in London, told the Wall Street Journal that something needs to be done to address issues with the welfare system, adding that it is accepted that “the benefits system is vulnerable to abuse for terrorist financing purposes.” 

He said that the authorities could perhaps look at different ways of handing out benefits, such as the use of vouchers. 

“If you’re paying benefit to people in certain parts of Brussels, maybe you need to be a little more observant about who you’re paying to, and what they might be doing with it,” he told the newspaper. 

Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS/ISIL) has previously encouraged its followers to tap into the European benefits system. In a 2015 booklet, it suggested that “if you can claim extra benefits from a government, then do so.” 

Meanwhile, the Belgian government has identified student-loan fraud and insurance scams as ways that jihadists could raise financial capital in the West. 

Philippe de Koster, director of Belgium’s Financial Intelligence Processing Unit, said that better coordination was needed between security and welfare officers to try and stop those suspected of terrorism from receiving welfare payments. However, the law in Belgium currently only allows benefit payments to be cut once a person is convicted of terrorism. 

De Koster says there is no evidence that the terrorists used this welfare money to finance their attacks, but he does accept that it helped them with their “livelihoods” and “indirect support for their terrorist activities,” the Wall Street Journal reported. 

Checks in Belgium on people receiving benefits have become significantly more stringent since the Brussels attacks in March. A month later, the National Employment Office found that 14 people jailed in Belgium under terrorism charges had been receiving welfare while they were behind bars. 

The Belgian prime minister’s spokesman, Fred Cauderlier, has since confirmed that the law has been changed to make sure that people convicted of terrorist offenses will not receive benefits payments while in jail.

 
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After Paris: Hypocrisy and Mendacity Writ Large

You have to feel for Benjamin Netanyahu. Just as he was engaging in another of his frequent bouts of foul mendacity with his attempt to exploit the carnage in Paris to justify Israel’s oppression of the Palestinians, up pops the Spanish authorities with a warrant for his arrest.

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Military Paralysis': Europe Lacks Resources, Political Will to Tackle ISIL

Following the deadly attacks in Paris, European leaders appear to be determined to do all it takes to defeat ISIL, but the continent's "geopolitical impotence" – the lack of political will and resources – will prevent them from actually delivering on their promises, journalist Matthew Karnitschnig maintains.

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