French anti-terrorism investigators scrambled on Monday to identify a knifeman who used multiple aliases before killing two women at the main train station in Marseille in an attack claimed by the Islamic State group. Sunday’s killings in France’s second-biggest city followed a string of stabbings around Europe claimed by, or blamed on Islamist radicals. The identity of the attacker in Marseille, a man with a record of petty crime who was said by witnesses to have shouted “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest) at the start of his rampage, is still unknown. Investigators said he appeared to be Tunisian but had gone by eight different names during various brushes with the law, including for shoplifting and illegal weapons possession. His victims were cousins from the eastern French city of Lyon, both aged 20. One was studying in Marseille and the other was visiting her for the weekend. One had her throat slit by the knifeman, who was seen on video camera footage striking his first victim from behind and then fleeing — only to return to launch a frenzied attack on her cousin. IS’s Amaq propaganda agency later said he was “from the soldiers of the Islamic State.” The attacker was shot dead by troops from the 7,000-strong Sentinelle special force deployed to patrol the streets and guard vulnerable sites such as stations, tourist attractions and places of worship. On Sunday, French President Emmanuel Macron tweeted that he was “deeply angered by this barbaric act,” and said he shared the pain of the families and friends of the victims. The deaths come as parliament prepares Tuesday to vote on a controversial anti-terror bill that transposes some of the exceptional powers granted to the police under a 22-month-old state of emergency into national law. Rights groups have warned that this security law reduces judicial oversight over the actions of the police. Published in Daily Times, October 3rd 2017.