A middle school teacher in France was hacked to death near the school where earlier this month he had shown his pupils cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, which is considered blasphemous by Muslims, French officials said.
The attacker was shot dead by a police patrol a few streets away from the scene of the attack late on Friday afternoon, in a residential suburb north-west of Paris.
The victim of Friday’s attack sustained multiple knife wounds to the neck, according to a police representative. One law enforcement source said the teacher had been beheaded in the attack.
French broadcaster BFMTV reported that the suspected attacker was 18 years old and born in Moscow. Law enforcement officials did not name the attacker, or his victim.
According to French media reports, the teacher who was killed had earlier this month shown pupils the cartoons as part of a civics lesson.
“One of our fellow citizens was assassinated today because he was teaching, he was teaching pupils about freedom of expression,” French President Emmanuel Macron told reporters at the scene of the attack.
“Our compatriot was flagrantly attacked, was the victim of an Islamist terrorist attack,” Macron said. “They won’t win… We will act. Firmly, And quickly. You can count on my determination.”
The incident carried echoes of the attack five years ago on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo. It published caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed, unleashing divisions that are still casting a pall over French society.