The French anti-terrorism prosecutor opened an investigation into the murder with a suspected terrorist motive, the prosecutor’s office said.
Macron visited the school where the teacher worked in the town of Conflans-Saint-Honorine and met with staff after the murder. An Associated Press reporter saw three ambulances arrive at the scene and heavily armed police around the area and police vans lined the nearby leafy streets.
One of our compatriots was killed today because he learned … freedom of expression, freedom to believe or not, Macron said.
He said the attack should not divide France because that is what the extremists want. We must all stand together as citizens, he said.
The horrific murder of the teacher took place in the town of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine while the suspect was killed by police in nearby Eragny.
A police official said the suspect, armed with a knife and an airsoft gun firing plastic pellets, was shot dead about 600 meters (yards) from where the male teacher was killed after he failed to respond to orders to sit down. his weapons and acted in a threatening manner.
The teacher had received threats after opening a discussion about a cartoon debate about 10 days ago, the police official told the Associated Press. A student’s parent had filed a complaint against the teacher, another police official said, adding that the suspected killer did not have a child at the school. The identities of the suspects were not made public.
The identities of the suspects were not made public. French media reported that the suspect was an 18-year-old Chechen, born in Moscow. This information could not be confirmed immediately.
Both officials could not be named because they were not authorized to discuss the ongoing investigation.
France has offered asylum to many Chechens since the Russian military waged war against Islamic separatists in Chechnya in the 1990s and early 2000s, and there are Chechen communities scattered around France.
France has seen occasional violence involving its Chechen community in recent months, in the Dijon region, the Mediterranean city of Nice and the western city of Saint-Dizier, believed to be linked to local criminal activity.
The attack came as Macron is pushing for a new law against what he calls internal separatism, particularly by Islamic radicals accused of indoctrinating vulnerable people through home schools, extremist preaching and other activities.
France has the largest Muslim population in Western Europe with up to 5 million members, and Islam is the No. 2 religion of the countries.
We did not see this coming, Conflans resident Remi Tell told CNews television. He described the city as peaceful.
It was the second terrorist-related incident since the opening of an ongoing trial over the massacre in the newsroom in January 2015 in the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo following the publication of cartoons of the Prophet of Islam.
As the trial opened, the newspaper republished cartoons of the prophet to highlight the right to freedom of expression. Exactly three weeks ago, a young man from Pakistan was arrested after stabbing, outside the former newspaper offices, two people who suffered non-life-threatening injuries. The 18-year-old told police he was upset about the publication of the cartoons.
The incident came as the Macrons government is working on a bill to address Islamic radicals whom authorities claim are creating a parallel society outside the values of the French Republic.
Michel Euler in Conflans-Saint-Honorine and Nicolas Vaux-Montagny in Lyon contributed to this report.
Copyright 2020 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, transmitted, rewritten or redistributed without permission.
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