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French police probe terror links in stabbing of soldier in Paris

The stabbing of French soldier Cedric Cordier has the hallmarks of Islamist terrorism, the interior minister said on Sunday.

French soldier stabbedEnlarge
Police officers stand at the site where a man armed with a box cutter attacked a French soldier patrolling a subway station of Paris' business district, stabbing him in the neck, on May 25, 2013 in La Defense. The soldier in uniform was armed and was patrolling as part of France's Vigipirate anti-terrorist surveillance scheme. France's defense minister said the soldier stabbed in Paris Saturday was targeted because he was in the army and vowed to continue his country's "implacable" fight against terrorism. Police said the man would survive. (FRANCOIS GUILLOT/AFP/Getty Images)

French police are probing suspected terrorism links after a 23-year-old soldier was stabbed in the throat outside Paris on Saturday.

Anti-terrorism investigators are combing through surveillance video for clues to the identity of the suspect and for any potential links to the recent brutal killing of off-duty British soldier Lee Rigby.

Several security cameras operated by public transport agency RATP and others captured  images of the suspect both before and after the attack, a police official told the Associated Press on condition of anonymity.

"There are indeed elements that lead us to believe it (the French attack) could be an act of terrorism," Interior Minister Manuel Valls told France 5 television on Sunday.

"I won't say any more at this stage as the investigation is only beginning."

Police are hunting for a suspect who reports identify as a bearded man aged about 30, possibly of North African origin, who fled into a crowded train station after the attack.

The injured soldier, Cedric Cordier, remained hospitalized on Sunday but is expected to survive. 

More from GlobalPost: French soldier stabbed in the neck outside Paris

French police union UNSA spokesman Christophe Crepin told Reuters there were similarities between Saturday's attack and the brutal slaying of British soldier Lee Rigby on Wednesday. 

"I think this person wanted to imitate what happened in London," he told Itele television.

Rigby was attacked and killed on the streets of the southeast London neighborhood of Woolwich in broad daylight by two suspected Islamic extremists.

One of the suspected attackers, Michael Adebolajo, was arrested in Kenya in 2010, where he was suspected of preparing to join terrorist group al-Shabab, the British Foreign Office said Sunday.

More from GlobalPost: Michael Adebolajo, one of the suspected Woolwich attackers, was arrested in 2010

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/france/130526/french-police-probe-terror-links-stabbing-soldier-paris