Chérif Chekatt: Who Is The Strasbourg Shooting Suspect?

From The Guardian:
French investigators call them the “gangster-jihadists” – young men, often from poor immigrant backgrounds, who start with petty crime, drug dealing and robbery and graduate to terrorism.

They exist under the radar of the intelligence services or are placed on watch lists for their radical religious beliefs and subjected to varying degrees of surveillance – but are not expected to become violent.

In any case, French security forces have said it would be impossible to keep an eye on all 12,000 listed for suspected Islamist views or even the 4,000 considered “problematic”.

The profile of Chérif Chekatt, who is being hunted by police in connection for the attacks in Strasbourg, is all too familiar in France.

Chekatt was born in Strasbourg in February 1989, into a family with Moroccan roots, and appears to have fallen first into petty crime then gangster circles. The final stage, his apparent move into Islamic extremism, was reportedly sparked – or at least strengthened – during a spell in prison between 2013 and 2015.

Like many youths growing up on outer-city housing projects in France, home to many of the country’s north African immigrant population, where poverty and unemployment are rife, Chekatt left school early and had a series of low-paid jobs.

By the age of 29 he had 27 convictions for theft and violence, the public prosecutor Rémy Heitz said. On the morning of the Strasbourg attack, he was to have been arrested in connection with attempted murder linked to an armed robbery that went wrong last summer.

His religious practice and proselytising in jail were described by Heitz as “showing signs of radicalisation”. For that he was put on the Fiché-S list….

Of the 20,000 currently on the Fiché-S only a dozen are thought to be under 24-hour surveillance.

The deputy interior minister, Laurent Nuñez, said Chekatt had been being watched in a “relatively serious manner”.

In 2016 Chekatt was added to the more specific Fichier des Signalements pour la prévention et la radicalisation à caractère terroriste (file of reports of the prevention and radicalisation of a terrorist nature), a little-known list of 20,000 people known to have been, or at risk of being, radicalised….

“In prison he encouraged the practice of religion in a radical form, but there was nothing in his way of life to suggest he was planning to act,” Nuñez said.

Chekatt’s background has similarities with a number of other terror attacks in France….

The former anti-terrorism judge Jean-Louis Bruguière said Chekatt had the “typical profile” of a young radicalised Islamist.

“They are able to dissimulate their beliefs to the point where they drink alcohol or even ask their mothers to bring them a pork sandwich,” Bruguière told BFM TV. “In this way they are capable of passing under the radar but turning to violence extremely quickly.”

Residents in the housing block at Les Poteries where Chekatt lived were stunned – as were neighbours of all of the previous terror suspects.

“He was quiet. He didn’t speak much and was a bit of a loner; he didn’t hang around unless he was with his brothers and father,” said one of Chekatt’s neighbours. “He seemed normal. Just a normal guy.”

0 comments. Leave a comment below.:

Post a Comment

Spam and abuse will not be published. You can use some HTML tags in your comments.

Thank you for reading and commenting.