Paris suburb knife attacker is of Chechen origin, says prosecutor

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Paris, Oct 18 | The suspect who beheaded a history teacher near a school in a Paris suburb was a refugee of Chechen origin, national anti-terror prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard told a press conference.

Late Friday afternoon, the 47-year-old history teacher was decapitated in the street near a middle school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorin, northwest Paris. He had reportedly shown in his class, as part of a discussion on freedom of expression, cartoons of Prophet Mohammad.

The prosecutor on Saturday said the 18-year-old suspect, who was shot dead by police as he refused to surrender, was a refugee of Chechen origin and not previously known to the intelligence services. The attacker had asked pupils at the school to point out the teacher and after beheading the victim, the suspect posted a photo of the body on Twitter, with a message claiming responsibility for the attack, Xinhua news agency reported.

Four family members of the attacker were detained and put under police custody overnight. Police also detained five others, among them a parent of a pupil who had posted on social media a video in which he disapproved the teacher’s move to show the cartoons and called on others to “join force to say stop,” said the prosecutor.

He added that the half-sister of that parent joined Islamic State insurgents in Syria in 2014.

“Further investigation will be carried out to establish precisely the facts, how the attacker had prepared his crime and whether he had accomplices,” said the prosecutor.

In January 2015, a mass shooting hit the offices in central Paris of satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo, which published controversial cartoons including those of Prophet Mohammad. Twelve people were killed, including eight of the magazine’s staff.

Fourteen people are currently on trial over the attack. Last month, a man stabbed two people outside the former offices of Charlie Hebdo.

Source: IANS

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