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Officer stabbed to death inside her police station near Paris

French prosecutors opened a terrorism investigation into the fatal stabbing Friday of a French police officer inside her police station near the historic Rambouillet chateau outside Paris. Fellow officers shot and killed the suspected attacker at the scene.

The identity and motive of the assailant were not immediately clear, a national police spokesperson told The Associated Press. The police officer was a 49-year-old administrative employee in the station, the spokesperson said. The victim was the mother of two children aged 13 and 18, AFP reported.

France Policewoman Stabbed
Head of the Ile de France regional council Valerie Pecresse, left, arrives at the Police station in Rambouillet, south west of Paris, Friday, April 23, 2021. A police officer was stabbed to death inside her police station Friday, authorities said.  Michel Euler / AP

The national anti-terrorism prosecutor's office said it had taken over the case and opened an investigation into murder of a person of public authority in relation with a terrorist group. Officials at the prosecutor's office would not provide further details.

"We are in a state of astoundment," Karl Olive, vice president of the regional council, said on BFM television.

The attack took place southwest of Paris just inside the police station in a quiet residential area of the town of Rambouillet, about 750 yards from a former royal estate that is sometimes used for international peace negotiations. Police cordons ringed the area after the stabbing.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin and other top officials visited the scene of the attack to show their support for police.

"France has lost one of its everyday heroines in a barbaric gesture of infinite cowardice," Castex said, according to Reuters.  

Valerie Pecresse, president of the Paris region, told reporters that "police are symbols of the republic. They are France." 

"The face of France" was targeted, Pecresse said.

France has seen deadly attacks against police in the past, including some by Islamic extremists.

The attack comes as President Emmanuel Macron's government is toughening its security policies, amid voter concerns about crime and complaints from police that they are in increasing danger. Macron may face a challenge from French far-right leader Marine Le Pen if he seeks a second term in France's presidential election next year.

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