Armed man killed at police station year after Paris attacks

Last Updated Jan 7, 2016 4:23 PM EST

PARIS -- French officials said a man armed with a knife was shot to death by officers at a police station in northern Paris on Thursday, the one year anniversary of the deadly attack on the headquarters of the satirical Charlie Hebdo magazine.

Two officials said the man had wires extending from his clothing, and an explosives squad was on site. There were unconfirmed reports the man was heard shouting "Allahu akbar," or "God is the greatest" in Arabic, before he was shot.

A French security official identified the man as a 20-year-old Moroccan involved in a minor robbery in 2013 in the southern Var region. The official told The Associated Press police are "working on the hypothesis" that the man is Ali Sallah, of Casablanca, saying the fingerprints of the dead attacker match those taken in 1995 of the man caught for robbery.

The official said doubts persist because the body of the attacker appeared older than 20. He said Sallah described himself to police in 2013 as homeless and in France illegally. Investigators are trying to determine when the attacker arrived in the Paris region and whether someone provided a place to stay.

The official asked not to be publicly identified because he was not authorized to discuss the case.

A spokesman for France's Interior Ministry, meanwhile, said there was no search for additional suspects, and cautioned against jumping to conclusions about the nature of the incident outside the police station.

French police use a bomb disposal robot to inspect the body of a man shot dead at a police station in the 18th district in Paris
French police use a bomb disposal robot to inspect the body of a man shot dead at a police station in the 18th district in Paris, France, Jan. 7, 2016.

"It's too early to talk about a terrorist act," ministry spokesman Paul-Henry Brandet said on French television, adding that just because "someone walks into a police station with a knife and shouts Allah Akbar," it does not prove that individual is "engaged in a terrorist enterprise."

However, French prosecutor Francois Molins said later Thursday that the slain man was found to be carrying "a mobile phone and a piece of paper, on which appeared the Daesh flag and a clear written claim in Arabic." Daesh is an Arabic acronym for the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS). Molins did not confirm any actual links between the individual and the terror group.

Just minutes before the incident, French President Francois Hollande paid homage to police officers killed in the line of duty, including three police shot to death last January during the attack on Charlie Hebdo and several other sites in the following days.

CBS News correspondent Charlie D'Agata reported the neighborhood in northern Paris, the 18th district, was locked down after the shooting and some public transport was closed. Schools in the area were asked to keep pupils inside. The measures were slowly lifted later Thursday.

On Jan. 7, 2015, two French-born brothers killed 11 people inside the building where the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo operated, as well as a Muslim policeman outside. Over the next two days, an accomplice shot a policewoman to death and then stormed a kosher supermarket, killing four hostages. All three gunmen died.

The brothers who attacked Charlie Hebdo were linked to al Qaeda's branch in Yemen, al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). The third man, who killed the hostages at the supermarket, was acting in the name of ISIS.