A terrorist attack in France on Monday evening claimed the lives of a French police officer and his partner. Larossi Abballa, the attacker, stabbed to death a police commander and a police administrator in their home in the Paris suburb of Magnanville after pledging allegiance to ISIS, the Associated Press reported.
Updated on 06-14-2016 by Saqib Shah: Added statement from Facebook
The moments following the attack were broadcast live on Facebook Monday evening, and the social media platform was also used to publicize threats against the Euro 2016 football championship, currently taking place in France.
According to reports, the terrorist had a list of other targets, among whom were rappers, journalists, police officers, and public officials. Abballa was killed by police during a three-hour standoff, during which he told forces that ISIS called upon him to “kill non-believers where they live,” and with their families.
At the time of the crime, Abballa was already under “active investigation” by French prosecutors for terrorist-related activity.
Throughout the Facebook broadcast, viewers were able to see the police officer’s three-year-old son on a couch behind the terrorist, and could only watch in horror as Abballa contemplated what to do with his young hostage. Ultimately, the child was rescued by the SWAT team, and two known associates of Abballa’s have since been taken into custody.
Prosecutor Francois Molins noted that the entire 12-minute video of the attack’s aftermath was posted to the social media site, but has not commented on the use of Facebook Live in the tragedy.
Abballa’s Facebook profile, which has since disappeared, featured two recent posts of videos criticizing both Israel and Saudi Arabia. And as the Associated Press reported, “The last publicly available post was a mock-up of the European Championship logo, highlighting what the poster said were masonic and occult symbols.”
Facebook told Digital Trends that it treats content removal requests from law enforcement agencies with the utmost importance.
“We are working closely with the French authorities as they deal with this terrible crime. Terrorists and acts of terrorism have no place on Facebook,” stated a Facebook spokesperson. “Whenever terrorist content is reported we remove it as quickly as possible. We treat take-down requests by law enforcement with the highest urgency.”
As the nature of the investigation is ongoing, Facebook claimed that it is working with the authorities where its help is required.
On Tuesday, French President Francois Hollande condemned the attack, and called it an act of terror. Said the president, “It was undeniably an act of terrorism, both because the perpetrator — who was taken out at the scene, thanks to the quick reaction of the security forces — wanted it to be recognized as an act of terrorism, and the organization he had pledged his allegiance to also claimed the attack.”
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