Police in France say that a 21-year-old Muslim convert who confessed to stabbing a French soldier was apparently motivated by his religious beliefs, in an eerie echo of an attack last week in London, in which a British serviceman was killed.
Pvt. Cedric Cordiez, 25, was approached from the back and stabbed in the neck at a shopping mall in a suburb of Paris on Saturday. He was treated at a military hospital and released on Monday, officials said.
The New York Times reports that Paris public prosecutor Francois Molins on Wednesday announced the arrest of Alexandre Dhaussy, 21, who authorities say confessed to the crime. Molins said investigators believe that Dhaussy had "acted in the name of his religious ideology."
Molins said authorities were treating the attack as a terrorist act, and that Dhaussy had been caught on surveillance video apparently saying a prayer minutes before stabbing Cordiez.
"The nature of the incident, the fact it took place three days after [the London attack], and the prayer just before the act lead us to believe he acted on the basis of religious ideology and that his desire was to attack a representative of the state," Molins said at a news conference. "It seems clear the intent was to kill."
The Times says that Dhaussy had been known to authorities since 2009, "when he was submitted to an identity check for praying in the street."