Published: Sun, October 18, 2020

French teacher beheaded for showing caricatures of Prophet Muhammad, attacker shot dead

French teacher beheaded for showing caricatures of Prophet Muhammad, attacker shot dead

Authorities say the attacker was later shot dead by police after he didn't respond to commands to disarm and acted threateningly.

Anti-terrorist prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard said on Saturday that the suspect had approached pupils in the street and asked them to point out his victim. Five more were detained overnight, including the father of a pupil at Paty's school, College du Bois d'Aulne, and an acquaintance of the pupil's father known to the intelligence services, the anti-terrorism prosecutor said.

French media reported that he was an 18-year-old of Chechen origin.

The history and geography teacher, 47-year-old Samuel Paty, had previously received death threats for showing Prophet Mohammed cartoons during a lesson on freedom of expression.

According to police sources, the knifeman yelled "Allahu Akbar" ("God is Greatest ") as he attacked the teacher, and fled after the attack but was later found nearby area of Éragny.

Anti-terrorism prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard confirmed the unnamed 18-year-old attacker, who was born in Russian Federation and is of Chechen origin, had asked children to point out Samuel Paty, 47, before he murdered him in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine on Friday.

The killing comes as security forces have been on high alert during the ongoing trial of suspected accomplices of the attackers in the January 2015 terror attacks in Paris, which also saw a policewoman gunned down in the street.

Five others, including a parent of a pupil who disagreed with the teacher's move to show cartoons mocking the Prophet Mohammad in class, were also questioned over their role in the attack.

The first sign of an issue with year's civics lesson emerged on October 7 when the parent of the girl who was in the class posted an angry video on Facebook.

The anti-terrorism prosecutor did not say, however, whether the alleged attacker had any links to the school, students or parents, or if he had acted independently.

The scene has been cordoned off and a bomb disposal unit dispatched because of the suspected presence of an explosives vest, the police source said.

A visibly moved President Emmanuel Macron addressed the nation at the scene Friday and described the attack as "a characterized Islamist attack".

"I appeal for the unity of the adult world, to defend without fear and without reproach freedom, equality, fraternity and therefore secularism", he said.

Charlie Hebdo responded to Friday's attack on its Twitter account, writing: "Intolerance has crossed a new threshold and does not seem to give ground to anything in imposing its terror on our country".

A national tribute is to be paid to the teacher, the French presidency said on Saturday.

They opened fire and injured him severely, the source said.

According to parents and teachers, Paty told Muslim children they could leave before he showed the cartoon, telling them he did not want their feelings hurt.

Last month, a man stabbed two people outside the former offices in central Paris of satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo, which publishes controversial cartoons, including those of Prophet Muhammad.

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