An 18-year-old Chechen man is said to have been behind the stabbing of a teacher in Paris, according to sources with the French prosecution.
Police confirmed on Friday that the history teacher who had his neck cut during the attack had recently shown students a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad.
The suspected perpetrator was found near the victim and was equipped with a knife and a so-called softgun. According to police, he was shot and killed when he resisted arrest and behaved threateningly.
The identity of the perpetrator has not been officially confirmed, but according to a source with the French prosecution, it is said to be an 18-year-old Chechen, born in Moscow.
Nine people in interrogation
During the attack, he is said to have shouted “Allahu akbar”, which is Arabic and means “God is greatest”.
A total of nine people have been taken in for questioning after the murder, among them the parents of one of the children where the killed teacher taught. They are said to have expressed dissatisfaction with the fact that the teacher showed a cartoon of Muhammad.
The others who have been taken in for questioning are, according to the source at the prosecution, friends of the perpetrator, but not family members.
“Islamist terrorist attack”
French President Emmanuel Macron visited the scene on Friday night and described the attack as an “Islamist terrorist attack”.
– One of our countrymen was killed today because he taught about freedom of speech, the freedom to believe or not believe, said a clearly marked Macron.
The president further said that the attack should not divide France because that is exactly “what the extremists are looking for”.
– We must all stand together as citizens, he said.
Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Søreide (H) also reacts strongly to the murder.
– Serious and cruel news about the terrorist act in France. We must stand together against attacks on freedom of thought and enlightenment. My thoughts go to the victim’s loved ones, colleagues and students,
Charlie Hebdo trial
The news of the murder comes at the same time as a trial is underway in the wake of the terrorist attack on the satire magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris in 2015, in which twelve people were killed.
The reason Charlie Hebdo became the target of the attack was that the satire magazine had printed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad several times.
Friday’s attack took place around 5 pm at a school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, a suburb west of the French capital. The victim was a history teacher at the middle school level, and he had recently shown Muhammad caricatures and discussed them in teaching. He later received threats for this, police inform.
Police say they are investigating the incident as “a murder linked to a terrorist organization”. They rushed to the scene after receiving a phone call about a suspicious man who was staying there.
In the aftermath of the incident, a bomb squad also moved out to the scene for fear that there might be a bomb vest there. The public was warned against approaching the place.
Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, who was traveling in Morocco, returned to Paris immediately after the incident. He has had talks with Prime Minister Jean Castex and President Emmanuel Macron, Darmanin’s office said.
The incident is reminiscent of an attack that took place in the French capital at the end of September when two men from a TV production company were attacked with a meat ax outside Charlie Hebdo’s former premises. They were seriously injured but survived. A 25-year-old Pakistani man has been charged with the crime.
Darmanin said shortly after the attack “was obviously an Islamist terrorist act”.
The 25-year-old is said to have justified the act with the satire magazine’s publication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.
Published: October 16, 2020 6:40 PM
Updated: October 17, 2020 10:59 AM
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