A man has been found decapitated in Conflans Saint-Honorine, located some 28 km northwest of Paris, according to media reports citing police sources. The suspect was reportedly shot and killed by law enforcement.
The victim was attacked and “decapitated,” BFMTV reported on Friday. Other media reports suggested the individual had been “stabbed” in the throat and succumbed to his wound.
The incident reportedly occurred outside a local school, and a police spokesman has confirmed that the victim was a middle-school teacher.
Multiple media reports, also citing police sources, claim the suspect shouted “Allahu Akbar”, or “God is Great,” as he assaulted his victim. The deceased teacher had shown pupils some cartoon depictions of the Prophet Mohammed, the sources added, which is considered a gross blasphemy by devout Muslims.
The suspect was reportedly confronted at the scene by police, but fled to the nearby town of Eragny, some three kilometers away. He then refused to surrender and threatened the officers with a knife before they shot him multiple times.
France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor (PNAT) has said it is investigating the attack.
The incident has prompted the country’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin to wrap up his visit to Morocco and return to France early, while President President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Jean Castex will reportedly visit the scene of the attack later on Friday.
Mayor of Ergany, Thibault Humbert, praised police for their quick response and “neutralizing” the suspect. In a tweet, the official also urged the public to avoid the area where the incident occurred and not to interfere with investigators working at the scene.
It was not immediately clear whether the teacher used the notorious cartoons by satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which have been repeatedly cited as a pretext for terrorist attacks. Late last month, a man who moved to France from Pakistan slashed two people outside the former Paris headquarters of the magazine. The suspect, who was arrested shortly after the incident, was also planning to set the headquarters on fire, and wasn’t aware that the magazine had moved to an undisclosed location following the deadly 2015 attack.
In the 2015 incident, 12 people were killed and 11 more injured after al-Qaeda-linked gunmen stormed the magazine’s office. Marking the beginning of the trial of the terrorists’ accomplices, Charlie Hebdo reprinted the cartoons early in September, triggering a new wave of protests across several Muslim countries.
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