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Paris police kill attacker at Gare du Nord
French police early Monday shot dead a man who lunged at officers with a long-bladed knife marked with an anti-police slogan at Paris's Gare du Nord train station, the interior minister said.
The man attacked two police officers on patrol at the station, one of Europe's busiest, with a 30-centimetre (12-inch) knife with the English slogan ACAB (All Cops Are Bastards) written on the blade, according to prosecutors.
"The police were threatened by an assailant who had a knife and who clearly wanted to hurt them and kill them," Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin told reporters on a visit to the southern city of Montpellier.
"They used their service weapons to neutralise him and he died," Darmanin added.
The attack occurred around 7:00 am (0600 GMT), he wrote earlier on Twitter.
Paris prosecutors said a knife bearing the letters ACAB -- a worldwide anti-police slogan believed to have first been used in the UK -- had been found in the vicinity of the attack.
"The slogan ACAB is clearly a sign that the person wanted to directly attack the police because they were police," said Darmanin.
A France Television journalist who was at the train station at the time posted a video of the incident on social media, in which two gunshots can be heard.
The station is the hub for Eurostar trains to and from London and Thalys trains that link France with Belgium and the Netherlands, as well as high-speed trains to the French north.
- 'Risk their lives' -
"It was an individual known to the police as someone who wandered around in the station," Transport Minister Jean-Baptiste Djebbari told RMC TV.
"He appears to have attacked the police with a knife, forcing them to use their weapon."
However a police source, who asked not to be named, later told AFP that the man, born in 1991, was previously unknown to the security forces.
France is still on edge after hundreds were killed by jihadists in attacks in 2015 and a spate of isolated strikes at the end of 2020. Authorities have not, however, linked Monday's incident to terror.
National anti-terror prosecutors told AFP that they had not been asked to open an investigation.
Security is set to be a crucial theme in the April 2022 presidential election, where President Emmanuel Macron is expected to seek a new term. His main challengers are on the right and far-right.
Police representatives have for months been calling on the government to ensure better protection for police, who themselves have been under fire over allegations of racism.
Paris police chief Didier Lallement applauded the "courage of the police who reacted calmly to a cowardly attack".
Police union Alliance described the attacker as an "anti-police terrorist" who had targeted the police "with a knife in order to kill them".
"This shows again how the protectors of the Republic risk their lives in the street, outside a church or on a daily patrol in a station."