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Suspect in French teacher beheading was 18-year-old Chechen Open in fullscreen

The New Arab Staff & Agencies

Suspect in French teacher beheading was 18-year-old Chechen

Armed police secure the area around the former Charlie Hebdo headquarters in Paris, France [Getty]

Date of publication: 17 October, 2020

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The suspect who is believed to have beheaded a headteacher who had shown his students cartoons of the prophet Mohammed was an 18-year-old born in Moscow.

The man suspected of beheading a French teacher who had shown his students cartoons of the prophet Mohammed was an 18-year-old born in Moscow and originating from Russia's southern region of Chechnya, a judicial source said on Saturday.

Five more people have been detained over the murder on Friday outside Paris, including the parents of a child at the school where the teacher was working, bringing to nine the total number currently under arrest, said the source, who asked not to be named.

According to the source, the two detained parents had signalled their disagreement with the teacher's decision to show the cartoons.

The other new people detained for questioning are members of the suspect's social circle but not family members.

The assailant was shot by police and later died of his injuries. Identification documents were found on him.

France has seen a wave of Islamist violence since the 2015 terror attacks on the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket in the capital.

French anti-terror prosecutors said they were treating the assault as "a murder linked to a terrorist organisation".

The attack happened on the outskirts of Paris at around 5pm (1500 GMT) near the middle school where the teacher worked in Conflans Saint-Honorine, a northwestern suburb around 30 kilometres (20 miles) from the city centre.

The killing bore the hallmarks of "an Islamist terrorist attack", President Emmanuel Macron said as he visited the scene.

The victim was a history teacher who recently showed cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed as part of a class discussion on freedom of expression, police said.

The allegations are similar to charges brought last month against a 25-year old Pakistani man who wounded two people in a meat cleaver attack 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.

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.

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.

The trial has sparked protests across France, with thousands of demonstrators rallying against Charlie Hebdo and the French government.

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