Horror post after teacher beheaded
An assailant has decapitated a history teacher in France who had recently shown cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in class.
Witnesses watched the man decapitate his victim - who was also male - in broad daylight close to the school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine.
The attacker was said to be enraged after the teacher displayed cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed to pupils, French media said.
Police officers rushed to the scene after the alarm was raised at 5pm Friday local time and the killer fled towards the northwestern Paris commune of Eragny-sur-Oise.
The attacker was later shot by police near Paris as they tried to arrest him and he died of his injuries. He's believed to be an 18-year-old Chechen man born in Moscow.
The attacker shouted "Allahu Akbar" as he was confronted by police officers, a police source said.
The Muslim phrase, meaning "God is Greater", has often been heard in jihadist attacks.
A source said the man was "waving a gun" when he was confronted by police. About 10 shots were fired by police.
French anti-terror prosecutors said they were treating the assault as "a murder linked to a terrorist organisation" and related to a "criminal association with terrorists".
French President Emmanuel Macron was to visit the scene of the attack later Friday, his office said.
BREAKING: A man in a #Paris suburb reportedly beheaded by assailant, who was shot dead by police. Details still emerging and the suspect and motive have not yet been confirmed, though French anti-terrorist prosecutor reportedly leading an investigation. https://t.co/yDAT0QtIax— Rita Katz (@Rita_Katz) October 16, 2020
It is being reported that the attacker claimed responsibility on Twitter, posting a gory photo of the beheaded teacher.
The suspect also wrote the words: "In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. From Abdullah, the Servant of Allah, To Marcon, the leader of the infidels, I executed one of your hellhounds who dared to belittle Mohammed, calm his fellows before you are inflicted harsh punishment."
The post was quickly deleted by Twitter.
The scene has been cordoned off and a bomb disposal unit dispatched because of the suspected presence of an explosive vest, the police source said.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, who was on a visit to Morocco at the time of the attack, was to return to Paris immediately after talking with Macron, as well as Prime Minister Jean Castex, his office said.
Macron briefly joined key ministers at a crisis group set up in the interior ministry, the president's office said, before travelling to the scene of the attack.
French parliament suspended Friday's debate after news of the decapitation, with session president Hugue Renson, visibly moved, calling the attack "abominable".
MPs stood as Renson said that "in the name of all of us, I want to honour the memory of the victim".
The attack comes only days after a follower of the Islamic State militant group who attacked a police officer outside Notre-Dame cathedral in Paris with a hammer was sentenced to 28 years in jail.
Last month, charges were brought against a 25-year old Pakistani man who wounded two people with a meat cleaver to avenge the publication of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed by the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.
The attacker seriously injured two employees of a TV production agency, whose offices are on the same block that used to house Charlie Hebdo. Both survived.
That attack came three weeks into an ongoing trial of suspected accomplices of the authors of the January 2015 attacks on Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket, which also saw a policewoman gunned down in the street.
Seventeen people were killed in the three-day spree that heralded a wave of Islamist violence in France that has so far claimed more than 250 lives.
The trial has sparked protests across France, with thousands of demonstrators rallying against Charlie Hebdo and the French government.
Police on Friday arrived at the scene after receiving a call about a suspicious individual loitering near the school, a police source said.
There they found the dead man and nearby sighted the suspect armed with a knife-like weapon, who threatened them as they tried to arrest him.
They opened fire and injured him severely, the source said. The man later died of his injuries, a judicial source said.
Originally published as Teacher beheaded over Mohammed cartoon