The French government’s spokesman, Benjamin Griveaux, was asked this Thursday at CNews if the police were ordered to catch Chérif Chekatt alive or dead. Answer: «It’s the same, it’s best that we find it as fast as possible.»
Last night, 48 hours after this radicalized criminal in the jail shot and killed three people in the center of Strasbourg, his escape ended definitively.
It was in the neighborhood of Nuedorf, where he arrived on Tuesday aboard a taxi hijacked after his bloody journey in which wounded another 10 people. One of them, clinically dead.
For the kidnapped taxi driver we knew two details. That he was wounded and that he justified his action in «the death of the brothers in Syria.» The witnesses had heard him shout «Allah is great» during his bloody journey through the narrow streets of Strasbourg where a Christmas market is held that attracts thousands of people.
It was located about nine in the night in the neighborhood, next to 74 rue de Lazaret, by a patrol of three policemen who drove by car. When they recognized him, they turned around and tried to stop him. Chekatt opened fire on police and was shot dead in response, according to Interior Minister Christophe Castaner. The minister said he was «proud» of the police forces. an hour before, from the Alsatian capital, had announced that this Friday the Christmas market reopens.
The terrorist was a few streets from where his track was lost on Tuesday.
That day he had more luck. A military patrol located him, he was wounded in the arm but escaped. The taxi driver said that it was obvious that he knew the neighborhood. But also that he did not seem to know where to go.
During those 48 hours of their escape, the security forces deployed 720 people in the Alsatian capital, seat of the European Parliament. The German police, a country in which he also committed crimes and served time, controlled all the vehicles that pass from one country to another because of their work routines. Up to five hours it was hard to take a tour that usually takes a few minutes.
The French police can point the both. Especially considering that it took four months to locate and detain Salah Abdesalam in Brussels, one of the few defendants alive of the November 2015 attacks.
The neighborhood in which the days of Chérif Chekatt ended had been the scene of a massive police operation in the early afternoon. A fifth arrest was added to the arrest of his parents and two of his brothers.
Thus ended, on a glacial night, the life of a son of Moroccan emigrants, who began to commit a crime at the age of 15 and accumulated a record of 27 convictions for common crimes such as robbery and violent acts. His time in prison led him to radical Islam. And the S file that groups the radicalization suspects.
The terrorist group Islamic State (IS) has claimed responsibility for the attack. The Amaq agency, linked to the jihadist group, said the attack was perpetrated by a «soldier» of the Islamic State.