Teacher be­headed in Paris ter­ror at­tack

Macron vis­its Paris school fol­low­ing mur­der of tu­tor who showed car­toons of Mo­hammed to chil­dren

The Daily Telegraph - - Front Page - By David Chazan, Jan­nat Jalil and Henry Sa­muel in Paris

A sus­pected Is­lamist ter­ror­ist be­headed a teacher who had shown his pupils con­tro­ver­sial car­toons of the Prophet Mo­hammed in a Paris sub­urb yes­ter­day. The as­sailant, armed with a knife and an air gun, re­port­edly shouted “Al­lahu Ak­bar” as he car­ried out the at­tack. He was shot dead by po­lice af­ter re­fus­ing to drop his weapons. The teacher re­ceived death threats af­ter a les­son on free­dom of ex­pres­sion, in which he showed pupils the car­toons, a po­lice source said.

A HIS­TORY teacher who showed his pupils car­toons of the Prophet Mo­hammed in class was be­headed near his school in a Paris sub­urb yes­ter­day by a sus­pected Is­lamist t er­ror­ist who shouted “Al­lahu ak­bar”, po­lice said.

Alerted by residents, po­lice con­fronted and shot dead a man armed with a kitchen knife and an air gun who re­fused to drop his weapons and sur­ren­der, and threat­ened them.

Min­utes later, of­fi­cers found the body of the male teacher.

A bomb dis­posal unit was called in to check if the as­sailant was wear­ing a sui­cide vest or belt. Wit­nesses told po­lice they heard the as­sailant shout­ing “God is the great­est” in Ara­bic.

The teacher had re­ceived death threats af­ter giv­ing a class on free­dom of ex­pres­sion, during which he showed pupils the con­tro­ver­sial car­toons, a po­lice source said.

The pre­sumed killer, a Moscow-born eth­nic Chechen, was not on France’s ter­ror watch list but was known to po­lice for petty crime. Char­lie Hebdo ex­pressed “hor­ror and re­vul­sion that a teacher do­ing his job was mur­dered by a re­li­gious fa­natic”. A fam­ily filed a le­gal com­plaint against the teacher last week af­ter he showed the car­toons in class.

The grue­some killing in broad day­light in the street out­side the school where the teacher worked in Con­flan­sSainte-honorine, north-west Paris, was wit­nessed by passers-by who raised the alarm. French me­dia named the teacher as Sa­muel P.

Sophie Vénéti­tay, deputy head of the SNES-FSU teach­ers’ union, said: “He was mur­dered be­cause he was do­ing his

‘One of our fel­low cit­i­zens was mur­dered be­cause he was teaching pupils free­dom of ex­pres­sion’

job, namely teaching crit­i­cal thought.” She said the vic­tim was a his­tory and ge­og­ra­phy teacher in charge of “moral and civic ed­u­ca­tion”, adding: “In that ca­pac­ity, he gave a les­son on the free­dom of ex­pres­sion with the Mo­hammed car­toons.”

Thibault Hum­bert, mayor of the nearby sub­urb of Éragny-sur-oise, said: “This was an ex­cep­tion­ally vi­o­lent and hor­ri­fy­ing at­tack. The po­lice must be com­mended for in­ter­ven­ing with such speed.”

Po­lice ar­rived at the mur­der scene within min­utes and came across the sus­pect who was flee­ing to­wards Éragny-sur Oise, about two miles away, be­fore they dis­cov­ered the body.

“The body of the de­cap­i­tated man was found around 5.30pm,” a source close to the in­ves­ti­ga­tion said. “The pre­sumed at­tacker was wav­ing his gun and shout­ing threats at of­fi­cers be­fore he was shot dead.”

Po­lice sealed off the area and told residents to stay in­doors while they in­vest i gated whether other po­ten­tial at­tack­ers or ac­com­plices were still at large. “There are still ques­tions about whether the killer was rad­i­calised or whether there might have been an­other mo­tive, but the in­ves­ti­ga­tion will clar­ify this and the work­ing hy­poth­e­sis is ter­ror­ism,” the source said.

Pre s i dent Em­manuel Macron and sev­eral gov­ern­ment min­is­ters held an e mer­gency meet­ing at t he in­te­rior min­istry. In emo­tional scenes, MPS in France’s Na­tional Assem­bly all stood up to “salute the mem­ory” of the slain teacher and de­nounced what they called “an abom­inable at­tack”.

Mr Macron vis­ited the school last night and, vis­i­bly moved, said: “One of our fel­low cit­i­zens was mur­dered to­day be­cause he was teaching pupils free­dom of ex­pres­sion.” The teacher was the vic­tim of an “Is­lamist at­tack”, he added.

He said the val­ues of France and the En­light­en­ment were un­der at­tack by ex­trem­ists.

“They will not pass. We will form a block,” he vowed.

In a speech ear­lier this month in Yve­lines, the depart­ment where Con­flan­sSainte-honorine is lo­cated, Mr Macron out­lined plans to curb the spread of rad­i­cal Is­lamism by re­strict­ing the ac­tiv­i­ties of re­li­gious, cul­tural and sporting groups, and ban­ning home school­ing.

The killing came at a highly sen­si­tive time in France af­ter two peo­ple were se­ri­ously in­jured in a knife at­tack last month out­side the for­mer of­fices of the satir­i­cal weekly Char­lie Hebdo.

A Pak­istani man who en­tered France un­der a false iden­tity con­fessed to stabbing two jour­nal­ists who work for a video pro­duc­tion com­pany at Char­lie Hebdo’s for­mer of­fices.

He told in­ves­ti­ga­tors he had been an­gered by the magazine’s de­ci­sion to re­pub­lish con­tro­ver­sial car­toons of the Prophet to co­in­cide with the on­go­ing trial of 14 al­leged ac­com­plices of two Is­lamists who mas­sa­cred 12 peo­ple at Char­lie Hebdo’s of­fices five years ago.

The at­tacker said he had not known that the weekly had moved to se­cret new premises.

Em­manuel Macron, the French pres­i­dent, speaks out­side the school in Con­flans-sain­teHonorine, north­west Paris, where a teacher was mur­dered. Left, peo­ple near an en­trance area at the scene of the crime, while po­lice of­fi­cers se­cure the area

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