A teacher has been killed in what is being called a beheading in a Paris suburb. The victim had shown cartoons of Muhammad during the hour, French police say according to AFP.
– One of our fellow citizens has been killed today because he taught about freedom of speech, the freedom to believe and not to not believe. Our fellow citizen was cowardly attacked and was the victim of an Islamist terrorist attack, says French President Emmanuel Macron, according to the newspaper Le Figaro.
He condemns the attack on the teacher, and at the same time says that the attack will not divide the country.
– Tonight I want to say to all the teachers in France that we are with them, that the whole nation will be there by their side today, tomorrow, to protect them, to defend them, to let them do their job.
He says Islamist terrorists will not win.
– France will respond quickly and with authority, he says.
The suspect was shot and killed
AFP and several French newspapers reported just after 6.30 pm on Friday night that a man had been beheaded in the Paris suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine. The attack happened around 5pm near a school.
French media write that the police tried to stop a man with a knife who behaved threateningly near where the body was found. According to Le Parisien, the man tried to escape and refused to lay down his weapon. He was then shot and killed by police.
The area has been cordoned off. A bomb squad was called in because police feared there might be explosives in the area where the perpetrator was shot.
Terrorism investigation underway
French police confirm to the news agency AFP that the murder victim was a teacher and had shown caricatures of Muhammad in class. According to French media, the teacher was a history teacher, and showed caricatures in connection with a lecture on freedom of expression.
French police wrote on Twitter around 5.30 pm that there is an incident in the area, and asked people to stay away.
France’s anti-terrorism unit PNAT is investigating the incident, writes Reuters. The police state that they are investigating the incident as “a murder linked to a terrorist organization”, according to AFP / NTB / Ritzau.
Macron was at the scene
President Emmanuel Macron was at the scene Friday night, according to Le Figaro. He previously attended a meeting on the matter in the Ministry of the Interior.
The National Assembly has condemned what they call “a heinous attack”.
Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer writes on Twitter:
– Tonight, the republic is attacked with this despicable murder of one of our workers, a teacher. Tonight I think of him and his family. Our unity and our determination are the only answers to the monstrosity of this Islamist terror.
Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, who is traveling in Morocco, will return to Paris immediately after having talks with Prime Minister Jean Castex and President Emmanuel Macron, Darmanin’s office informs, writes NTB.
Charlie Hebdo: – Shaken and upset
The attack 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.
On Twitter, the satire magazine expresses its deepest sympathy with the family, loved ones and all the teachers at the school. They write that they are “shaken and upset” that a teacher has been murdered by a “religious fanatic”.
– Intolerance has just crossed a new threshold and does not seem to stop for anything to inflict terror on our country. Only through political power and solidarity for all will we defeat this fascist ideology, they write in the same Twitter thread.