How Strasbourg became a hotbed for Islamist extremists in France

A French TV news camera whirred as youths chatted outside the nondescript, low-rise housing estate of Hohberg in a western suburb of Strasbourg, eastern France.

Opposite stood a particularly rundown block, home to Cherif Chekatt, the terrorist who, shouting the words “Allahu Akhbar”, killed four in a frenzied attack on Tuesday near the city’s famous Christmas Market.

As the lens zoomed in, a furious resident rushed out waving his hands.

“We don’t want you here. This is not a salafist area, you TV stations mix everything up,” he shouted.

Toufik Elkiri, 33, a taxi driver whose colleague had been held hostage by the gunman, said: “He was a thug who smoked too much pot but there was nothing religious…

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