Otago Daily Times
French teacher beheaded by teen terrorist
PARIS/CONFLANSSAINTEHONORINE: The teenager who beheaded a teacher outside the school in a Paris suburb where he taught had approached pupils in the street and asked them to point out his victim, antiterrorism prosecutor JeanFrancois Ricard said yesterday.
Police shot dead the 18yearold attacker, who was born in Russia, minutes after he murdered 47yearold history teacher Samuel Paty in broad daylight in ConflansSainteHonorine on Saturday.
A photograph of the teacher’s body, accompanied by a message claiming responsibility posted on Twitter, was discovered on the assailant’s phone, found near his body. Ricard said the Twitter account belonged to the attacker.
The post was removed swiftly by Twitter, which said it had suspended the account because it violated the company’s policy.
Ricard quoted the message as saying: ‘‘In the name of Allah the most gracious, the most merciful . . . to [President Emmanuel] Macron, leader of the infidels, I have executed one of your hellhounds who dared to belittle [Prophet] Mohammad.’’
Paty had shown his pupils cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in a class on freedom of expression this month, angering some Muslim parents. Muslims believe any depiction of the Prophet is blasphemous.
The attacker, of Chechen origin, had been living in the town of Evreux, northwest of Paris, and was not previously known to the intelligence services, Ricard told a news conference.
The killing shocked the country and carried echoes of an attack five years ago on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. Prime Minister Jean Castex said it bore the hallmarks of Islamist terrorism.
‘‘I want to share with you my total indignation. Secularism, the backbone of the French Republic, was targeted in this vile act,’’ Castex said.
Ten people, including some close relatives of the attacker, had been detained, reports said.
Parents of pupils laid flowers at the school gate. Some said their children were distraught.
‘‘[My daughter] is in pieces, terrorised by the violence of such an act. How will I explain to her the unthinkable?’’ one father wrote on Twitter. — Reuters