Alban Gervaise, a 40-year-old military doctor, has died after being slashed several times in the throat last week while he was trying to pick up his children from school in the city of Marseille, in a case that has prompted widespread outrage in France.
The medics evacuated the military radiologist to the hospital with a life-threatening condition, but he succumbed to his injuries. Gervaise was a married father of three children on his way to pick up his 3 and 7-year-old children. Outside their Catholic school, police say Mohamed L. suddenly attacked Gervaise from behind. Passers-by intervened and managed to control the assailant, but it was too late to save the Gervaise’s life. Mohamed L. was arrested at the scene of the murder.
According to a police source, Mohamed L. shouted that he is “acting in the name of Allah” during the attack.
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“All my accumulated experiences make me foresee a dark, and even very dark, future for our children and grandchildren,” said the former director of France’s top intelligence agency in a widely discussed interview
“This 40-year-old man was an eminent radiologist, military doctor at the Laveran hospital. He has dedicated his life to advancing medicine and caring for others. The man suspected of having stabbed him (Mohamed L., 23 years old) was indicted and imprisoned,” wrote Le Figaro journalist Guillaume Poingt.
Mohamed L. was already known to the police for previous crimes. In this case, the Marseille prosecutor’s office has opened a judicial investigation for “attempted voluntary homicide.”
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The police were targeted by projectiles, including stones, with two of the three officers present being injured in the attack
Mohamed L. has been indicted and remains in custody. Despite the man claiming he killed Gervaise for Allah, police investigators are not working with the terrorist motive at this stage, as a search of the attacker’s home has not led to the discovery of any radical Islamic ties.
“The prosecution must retain the terrorist motive in this case”
The mayor of the 13th and 14th arrondissements of Marseille, Marion Bareille, reacted to the death of the victim on Twitter:
“To his wife, children, family, friends, and brothers in arms, I send my deepest condolence. I hope that justice will rule with extreme severity because I cannot accept that such a crime should go unpunished.”
The Republican deputy for the Alpes-Maritimes, Éric Ciotti, stated on Twitter that the investigation must continue to look into the terrorist motive.