“I think it important to note that the entire responsibility for the fact that Hassan Azimov chose the path of crime lies with the French authorities. He may have been born in Chechnya, but he grew up in French society, where his personality, his opinions and convictions were formed,” Ramzan Kadyrov wrote on his Telegram channel.
I am sure that if he had spent his childhood and adolescence in Chechnya, Hassan’s fate would have been different,” the Chechen official added.
French media has reported that Azimov, born in 1997, grew up in Strasbourg, where his family arrived as refugees, before receiving his French citizenship in 2010.
According to Kadyrov, the attacked also obtained a Russian passport when he was 14, but its validity had lapsed, since it was not renewed at 20.
Azimov was reportedly put on a security watch list in 2016. Kadyrov wrote that French authorities’ reluctance to contain a known suspect “leaves a lot of unanswered questions,” and launched a wider broadside at the educational and social mores in the terrorist’s adopted homeland.
“Western societies believe that they have scaled unprecedented heights of democracy. Parents are prevented from having a hands-on role in bringing up their children, from telling them off, or regulating their behavior,” Kadyrov posted. “In this scenario, the state takes on responsibility for children’s upbringing, which they must accept in this case.”
The assailant, who was killed by police following the attack at Place de l’Opera in central Paris on Saturday, is also thought to have been monitored by authorities for links to radical Islamists. A judicial source confirmed to AFP that the man was “French, born in Chechnya in 1997.” His mother and father have been taken into custody for questioning, the source added.
Police also arrested a friend of the man in the eastern city of Strasbourg. He is currently being held for questioning.
The attacker has been identified by France 2 as Khamzat Azimov, a 20-year-old Russian-born immigrant who received French citizenship in 2010. According to AFP, Azimov had been on a list of people considered to pose a threat to national security, known as the ‘Fiche S,’ since 2016. France Info reports that he was also registered in the File for the Prevention of Terrorist Radicalization (FSPRT). He had no criminal record, judicial sources said.
According to Europe 1, Azimov was monitored for his connections in “radical Islamic circles.”BFMTV reports that he had specific, indirect links with “a person in Syria.”
The attacker reportedly shouted “Allahu akbar” during the attack in which five people were injured, two of them critically. One of the victims, a 29-year-old man, later succumbed to his injuries. Police found no documentation on the attacker, but investigators identified him by his fingerprints, Europe1 radio station reported on Sunday.
“At this stage, on the basis of testimonies mentioning the fact that the aggressor shouted ‘Allahu akbar’ when attacking passersby with a knife, given the modus operandi, we dispatched the anti-terrorist section of the prosecutor’s office,” Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said.
Islamic State (IS, formerly ISIS) claimed responsibility for the attack, the group’s affiliated website Amaq said. However, investigators have not verified the organization’s claim.