Moscow-born Chechen refugee beheaded teacher in Paris Islamic terrorist attack

World | 17 Oct 2020 10:09 pm

A suspect shot dead by police after the gruesome beheading of a history teacher in an attack near Paris was an 18-year-old Moscow-born Chechen refugee, officials said Saturday.

France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office said authorities investigating the killing of Samuel Paty in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine on Friday also arrested nine suspects, including the teen’s grandfather, parents and 17-year-old brother.

Paty had discussed caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad with his class, leading to threats and a complaint from a parent, police officials said. Islam prohibits images of the prophet, asserting that they lead to idolatry. The officials could not be named because they were not authorized to discuss ongoing investigations.

The French anti-terrorism prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard said an investigation for murder with a suspected terrorist motive had been opened.

Ricard told reporters that the suspect, who had been granted a 10-year residency in France as a refugee in March and was not known to intelligence services, had been armed with a knife and an airsoft gun, which fires plastic pellets.

The prosecutor said a text claiming responsibility and a photograph of the victim were found on the suspect’s phone. Ricard said the suspect had been seen at the school asking students about the teacher, and the headmaster had received several threatening phone calls.

French leaders offered messages of sadness but also of hope after the killing.

“We’ll pick ourselves up together, thanks to our spirit of solidarity,” said Laurent Brosse, mayor of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine.

“We are all affected, all touched by this vile assassination,” said Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer in a video message.

Mourners marched near the school in solidarity, holding signs that read “I am a teacher.”

A police official said the suspect was shot dead about 600 meters  from where Paty died. Police opened fire after he failed to respond to orders to put down his arms and acted in a threatening manner. The official could not be named because of the ongoing investigations.-AP

 

 

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