The 29-year-old suspect of the deadly shooting in Strasbourg, known as Chérif Chekatt, is said to have radicalized in prison. The man has a significant judicial past and spent several years behind the bars. Questions are being raised as to how such a man was not imprisoned longer.
The perpetrator of the shooting in Strasbourg is still on the run (although he might have been injured during a shootout with soldiers guarding the Xmas market). Both French and German police search for the man.
Related coverage: France - Xmas Market Terrorist’s Family Arrested, 720 Police Engaged In Manhunt
According to the official description which was released in the press by French police forces last night, Mr Chekatt has dark eyes, black hair, thick eyebrows and a short beard. He is described by his neighbors as a "discrete" man, who inhabited a small apartment in a derelict building in a suburb of Strasbourg. His parents live in the same neighborhood.
Chekatt was born in Strasbourg in 1989 and since 2016, after an imprisonment for armed robbery from 2013 to 2015, he was marked as a "fiche S", which means that he was on the radar of French state security because of possible radicalization to Islamic extremism.
During his imprisonment he attracted the attention of the intelligence services because of his religious radicalization and his conversion. It is for these reasons that the man since his release at the end of 2015 was tracked "in a serious way" as was declared by the Secretary of the Interior Laurent Nunez.
The French security services are under pressure from rightwing politicians as more and more of these ‘Fiche S’ suspects turn out to be lone wolves and the idea is being raised to confine all of these suspects beforehand as there is no manpower to track them all at all times.
Meanwhile conspiracy theories surround the terrorist. Firstly, it has been mentioned by rightwing commentators that, just like happened in Brussels when one of the Paris shooting terrorists was able to hide out for several months, the only reason that the perpetrator is not being found is because he is getting help from people in Strasbourg or surrounding cities.
Secondly, some of the gilets jaunes protesters, who had planned to come to Paris on Saturday, say that the timing of the terrorist attack suits the government and can therefore not be 100% natural.
In a facebook chat, one of the gilets jaunes organizers stated that, although he felt bad about the victims, the fact that the attack was launched at 8pm (early in the evening for most French) means it was simply done to ‘stop the protest movement,’ as any protest during a period of mourning would be seen as disrespectful.
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