Islamic extremist shot self while opening fire on church

by Vanessa Garcia Rodriguez, |
General view of the Emergency entrance to the Hotel Dieu Hospital in Paris April 22, 2015. French police have detained a man they suspect of planning an imminent armed attack on one or two churches, the interior minister said on Wednesday. The man, a 24-year-old information technology student, was arrested on Sunday in southeast Paris after calling emergency services to treat a wound, the interior ministry source said. When they arrived, they saw the injury was a gunshot wound and notified police. A blood trail led to a car which contained the weapons. | REUTERS/Charles Platiau

PARIS (Christian Examiner) -- French officials said Wednesday an Algerian computer science student and Islamic extremist attempted to open fire on a Paris church Sunday, but instead accidentally shot himself in the leg.

Previously flagged by intelligence agencies as a potential risk, the 24-year-old called for an ambulance and waited outside his apartment building when police arrived on the scene, the Associated Press reported.

Paris Prosecutor Francois Molins told the news source that though they had been suspicious of the man, the suspect had not warranted judicial investigation before. However when police followed his blood trail Sunday they found it led to a car filled with guns and information on potential targets.

Assault rifles and additional weapons were later found in his apartment along with phones and computers Molin stated were used to communicate with someone "who could have been in Syria" that "explicitly asked him to target a church."

According to AP, initially no ties to organized groups were uncovered, but Arabic language materials referencing al-Qaeda and the Islamic State eventually were among the man's possessions. Police arrested an unnamed acquaintance Wednesday while the Algerian remained in custody at the hospital where he continued to recover from his leg wound.

The terrorist suspect also appeared to be linked with the murder Sunday of a 32-year-old French woman.

An attack on the church would have made the third time this year that France experienced a terrorist attack. In January gunmen opened fire at the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical news paper. Days later, a subsequent attack on an Jewish supermarket killed 20 people.