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Paris police attacker had colleague details on USB key

Paris police attacker had colleague details on USB key

Paris: The Paris police employee who killed four colleagues at the force's headquarters had a USB key with details on dozens of officers, raising fears he intended to pass them to other radicalised Islamists, a French daily reported Tuesday.

Citing sources close to the inquiry, Le Parisien said it was not clear if the attacker, IT specialist Mickael Harpon, had the data on a USB key as part of his job or had surreptitiously extracted it.

But investigators have found that Harpon, who had access to classified data within the Paris police's intelligence division, had been in close contact with a hardline Salafist imam in the months before his knife rampage last week.

The USB key also had several propaganda videos from the Islamic State group.

President Emmanuel Macron will preside later Tuesday over a homage to the three male officers and a female administrative assistant killed during the lunchtime attack last Thursday.

The killings have raised serious questions about how police failed to notice various signs of Harpon's radicalisation in recent years, despite France being on high alert over a wave of deadly jihadist attacks.

Interior Minister Christophe Castaner faced a closed-door grilling by a parliamentary intelligence delegation on Tuesday morning, ahead of questioning by a parliamentary commission.

He will then be questioned by a Senate panel on Thursday as to why the red flags, including Harpon's public approval of the 2015 massacre of 12 people at the Charlie Hebdo newspaper, were not included in Harpon's file.

The interior ministry set up a dedicated cell after the attack to track potential Islamic radicals in France's security forces.

Le Parisien reported Tuesday that 19 ministry employees are currently under surveillance by anti-radicalisation investigators.

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