PARIS A man stabbed a teacher near a school on a suburb north of Paris on Friday afternoon and was later shot dead by police, officials said, in a confrontation that quickly escalated into a trauma that swept across France.
A police officer aware of the attack confirmed French media reports that the victim was a history teacher at a local school who had shown cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in class. The officer requested anonymity due to the ongoing investigation.
Frances counterterrorism prosecutors immediately took over the investigation and Interior Minister Gerald Darman interrupted a trip to Morocco to fly back to Paris. President Emmanuel Macron went to the scene, according to the presidency.
Little other information was immediately available about the victim, the attacker or the attack itself, which took place on the outskirts of Eragny. But the underlying themes highlighted Frances’ recent history of terrorist attacks.
The beheading came three weeks after a man with a knife wounded two people in Paris near the site of Charlie Hebdo’s former office.
On Friday, a police union official told French television station BFM that witnesses had seen the assailant in Eragny cutting the throats of the victims and shouting Allahu akbar God is the greatest.
National police were called, officials said, and after discovering the beheaded victim, confronted the assailant near, near a school.
Breaking a large knife, he threatened the officers and after refusing to surrender, was shot 10 times, they said.
A prosecutor from the country’s special anti-terrorism unit was immediately dispatched to investigate, officials said.
The teacher’s assassination quickly took on national proportions Friday night. Representatives in the French parliament rose to honor the memory of the victims, said session president, MP Hugues Renson.
The assassination of a history teacher is an attack on the freedom of expression and values of the republic, said National Assembly President Richard Ferrand in tweet. Attacking a teacher means attacking all French citizens and freedom, he said.
A teacher was killed just to do his job, Sophie Venetitay, a teachers’ union official, told BFM. She said the teacher gave a course on freedom of expression, during which the cartoons were shown, and this seems to have been at the beginning of this tragedy.
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