The Moroccan knifeman wearing a fake suicide belt who was shot dead trying to attack a police station in Paris today was carrying a letter in which he pledged allegiance to Islamic State.
Sallah Ali had been trying to enter the police station in Barbes, northern Paris, shouting 'Allahu Akbar' and threatening officers with a knife on the anniversary of the Charlie Hebdo attacks.
The 20-year-old convicted thief was carrying a mobile phone and a sheet of paper showing the black flag of ISIS - and claims of responsibility written in Arabic, according to officials in France.
Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said: 'A mobile phone and a piece of paper, on which appear the Daesh (ISIS) flag and a clear written claim in Arabic, were found on the individual.’
A police union source said Ali, who is originally from Casablanca, was wearing a belt made out to look like a suicide vest - but a bomb disposal unit has since confirmed that it was a fake.
Police have cleared hundreds of people from the area, which has a high percentage of residents with a multi-ethnic or immigrant background, over fears that other assailants could be at large.
He had been sleeping rough in Paris, but in 2013 had been arrested for theft in Sainte-Maxime, the upmarket French Riviera seaside resort. His fingerprints were recorded at the time.
His body, dressed in light blue jeans, a grey combat-style jacket and black boots, could be seen lying outside the police station until well into the afternoon.
'He was clearly obsessed with Islamic State, and its leaders,' said an investigating source. 'This was made very clear from the piece of paper found.'
The source added: 'At around 11.30am, the man appeared outside the police station and showed off his kitchen knife. He was told to get back, but refused. Shots were fired and he died instantly.’
By 1pm, bomb disposal experts could be seen using a robotic device to check Ali's corpse for explosives. Sniffer dogs were also present.
They are said to have found a 'small package with electric wires hanging out of it', said another source, working for Paris police.
The Goutte d'Or neighbourhood in Barbes, the 18th arrondissement of Paris, was locked down - as were two metro lines running through the area, although they later reopened.
Ppassengers arriving on the Eurostar from London were told to steer clear of the area. Armed police could be seen stopping passers-by, and especially young men of North African appearance.
Police expanded their security cordon an hour after the attack, swiftly and roughly clearing out hundreds of people who had gathered nearby. Shops were told to close along neighbouring streets.
Minutes before the shooting, French President Francois Hollande had paid homage to police officers killed in the line of duty, including three police shot to death during the January 7-9 attacks.
In a speech to police forces charged with protecting the country against new attacks, Mr Hollande said the government was passing new laws and ramping up security, but the threat remained high.
Mr Hollande especially called for better surveillance of 'radicalised' citizens who have joined ISIS or other militant groups in Syria and Iraq when they return to France.
'We must be able to force these people - and only these people - to fulfil certain obligations and if necessary to put them under house arrest... because they are dangerous,' he said.
Three police officers were among the 17 dead in the attacks, which ended after two days of bloodshed in France. Mr Hollande said officers die in the line of duty 'so that we can live free’.
Yvan Assioma, of the police union Alliance, said tension was high on the anniversary of the attacks against Charlie Hebdo. 'The alert is constant,' he told the broadcast network iTele.
The incident today came exactly one year after the terrorist attack on the satirical magazine. 'Allahu Akbar' were also the words used by the two Paris-born brothers who carried out that massacre.
Islamist militant brothers Chérif and Saïd Kouachi entered Charlie Hebdo's Paris offices and killed 11 people on January 7.
Two days later, Amedy Coulibaly, a friend of the Kouachi brothers who had pledged allegiance to ISIS, killed four and held more than a dozen people hostage at a kosher supermarket in Paris.
This week sees a number of memorial ceremonies held across Paris and France to honour the total of 17 victims who were killed in the attacks last January.
The French capital is still reeling from the terrorist attacks on November 13, when 130 people were killed and 352 people were injured in a series of shootings and suicide bombings for which ISIS has claimed responsibility.
A spokesman for France's Interior Ministry said an enquiry was today opened for 'attempted murder associated with a terrorist organisation'.
'The security forces showed true professionalism and vigilance. It is this which allowed them to neutralise this man,' said the spokesman.
Some of the police evidence was disputed by at least two eyewitnesses, one of whom said: 'He had his hands in the air, and was retreating. He was not shouting religious slogans. The police killed him anyway.'
Officers said there would be a full enquiry, with CCTV used to try and establish exactly what happened.
Posted by Women Against Shariah on Thursday, January 7, 2016