The Syrian suspect in the stabbing attack targeting young children in Annecy had joined the France eight months ago from Sweden, where he lived, as he could not obtain Swedish citizenship, his ex-wife said. The young woman, who shared his life with him until last year in southwestern Sweden, showed her disbelief at the act attributed to Abdalmasih H., 31, whom she divorced a few months ago.
The attack Thursday morning injured six people, including four children aged 22 to 36 months, in a park near Lake Annecy. "Him? (...) My God, he was very nice, I don't understand, "said the young woman upon hearing the news, on condition of anonymity.
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According to her, the departure of the Syrian, who described himself as a Christian to the French police, is linked to the fact that he "failed to obtain Swedish nationality". "We met in Turkey, we fell in love and we came here (to Sweden). After two years, we got married, but he couldn't get Swedish citizenship, so he decided to leave the country.
We separated because I didn't want to leave Sweden," she said by phone. This departure took place "eight months ago", according to the young woman, who confirmed that he had been granted refugee status in Sweden. The French authorities said they had registered an asylum application from him at the end of November 2022, but without following up because he had already applied for, and then obtained, refugee status in Sweden.
He was "elusive" during their last exchange.
"I don't know what happened to him, what you tell me, it's terrible. But I haven't had any contact with him, I don't know where he lives, or how he is psychologically," the ex-wife said on condition of anonymity. In a rare exchange after leaving Trollhättan where the suspect of the attack lived, the latter explained that he lived "in a church" in France. "I don't have much news anymore, he has been very elusive. He called me four months ago, he lived in a church. But I don't know much more, he is mostly in contact with his family who live in the United States," said the young woman, also from the Middle East.
Many Syrians, including a large Christian community, fled the war in Sweden from 2011. Judging the arrivals too large, the Swedish government at the time tightened asylum conditions shortly after the 2015 migration crisis.