Worse news could not have come from Paris. The city prosecutor Remy Heitz has announced that four police officers were killed in a knife attack on Thursday. It appears that a member of the staff in a fit of rage attacked and killed three policemen and a female administrative worker. CNN has reported that the assailant was shot dead by the police.

The attack

Reports indicate that the attack took place inside the police building. The building is located near Notre Dame Cathedral on the lie de Cite in central Paris. The French Interior Minister Christophe Castaner has indicated that one more person was attacked and is undergoing surgery.

He did not elaborate on the victim's condition and the extent of injuries sustained by him.

BBC has reported that the assailant was a 45-year-old man and had been part of the police force as an employee since 2003. The police have not been able to establish a motive for the crime. With the attacker dead, solving the crime will be more difficult.

The attack has taken the French police and government by surprise. The French are used to terrorist attacks but this is something different. The place where the incident took place is called the island and is presently on lockdown. All roads leading to the scene of the crime have been cordoned off. Police and firemen along with ambulances are on the scene.

French leaders

Just after the attack the nearby Cite metro station was closed but it has now been opened. The attack appears to have no explanation as the assailant was working with the police for close to 20 years. The assailant was 45 years old and was working as an IT specialist.The French leaders led by President Emanuel Macron accompanied by Prime Minister Edouard Philippe arrived at the scene of the crime.

The interior minister Christophe Castaner is also accompanying the president.

The attacker has not been named by the police. The attack is a telling reminder of the state of security in France. Only a day earlier the police in France had gone on strike to protest the increasing violence towards its personnel. Police unions say that nearly 50 police personnel have committed suicide since the start of the year.

Over the years the French have been concerned about Islamic terrorism but this attack defies classification as the assailant was working with the French police. One can only conjecture that the working conditions and disputes could have led the man to take the extreme step. Nothing has been announced by the police. Perhaps a detailed inquiry may reveal the reason for these killings.

Last word

The French have faced a spate of terrorist attacks by Islamic militants and hundreds have been killed. Similarly the British faced a terror attack in 2017. The French public will be surprised how this attack took place inside the police headquarters. This does not auger well for the state of affairs inside the police headquarters.