Chechen man suspected of beheading French teacher in ‘terror attack’

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French police have arrested nine people over the beheading of a teacher near his school in a Paris suburb, a judicial source said on Saturday, in what President Emmanuel Macron labelled an Islamist terror attack.

The source said the killing was carried out by an 18-year-old Chechen, who was then shot and killed by police near the scene in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, northwest of Paris.

Police said the victim was 47-year-old history teacher Samuel Paty, who had shown his pupils some cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed as part of a class discussion on freedom of expression — a lesson that had prompted complaints from parents.

Two of the suspect’s brothers and his grandparents were initially detained by police for questioning.

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The judicial source told AFP Saturday that five more people had been detained, including the parents of a child at the school and friends of the suspect.

According to the source, the parents had signalled their disagreement with the teacher’s decision to show the cartoons.

The attack came as a trial is in progress over the January 2015 massacre at the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine, which had published caricatures of the prophet Mohammed that unleashed a wave of anger across the Islamic world.

The magazine republished the cartoons in the run-up to the trial in September and last month a young Pakistani man wounded two people with a meat cleaver outside its former offices.‘Will not win’

Identification documents found on the suspect showed he was an 18-year-old born in Moscow but from Russia’s southern region of Chechnya.

The attacker shouted “Allahu Akbar” (“God is greatest”) as police confronted him, a cry often heard in jihadist attacks, a police source said.

There had been no previous indication that he was a potential radical, a source close to the investigation said.

French anti-terror prosecutors said they were treating the assault as “a murder linked to a terrorist organisation”.

Police said they were investigating a tweet posted from an account — since shut down — that showed a picture of the teacher’s head.

It was unclear whether the message, which contained a threat against Macron — describing him as “the leader of the infidels” — had been posted by the attacker, they said.