A school teacher has been decapitated in Paris in front of the school he taught at on Friday (local time), in a gruesome act which has been condemned as a terrorist attack.
The man who slit the teacher’s throat was shot dead by police a few streets away from the crime scene.
France's anti-terror prosecutor said it was investigating the attack, which took place in Conflans Sainte-Honorine, a suburb northwest of Paris.
Police on Friday arrived at the scene after receiving a call about a suspicious individual loitering near the school, a police source said.
There they found the dead man and nearby sighted the suspect armed with a knife-like weapon, who threatened them as they tried to arrest him.
Officers opened fire and injured him severely, the source said. The man later died of his injuries.
Attack was prompted by cartoon
The teacher had reportedly shown pupils in his class cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad, imagery which is considered by Muslims to be blasphemous.
A Twitter thread posted on October 9 contained allegations that a middle school history teacher in Conflans Sainte-Honorine had shown students cartoons purporting to depict the Prophet Mohammad.
The thread contained a video of a man who said his daughter, a Muslim, was one of the students, and that she was shocked and upset by the teacher's actions.
The man in the video urged Twitter users to complain to the authorities and get the teacher removed from his job.
French President Emmanuel Macron said the teacher’s murder was an attack on freedom of expression.
"A citizen has been murdered today because he was a teacher and because he taught freedom of expression," Mr Macron said near the school where the teacher was killed.
He described the attack as Islamist extremism.
"The whole country stands behind its teachers. Terrorists will not divide France, obscurantism will not win," he said.
The incident carried echoes of the infamous attack five years ago on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
It published caricatures of the prophet, unleashing an issue that is still casting a pall over French society.
Less than a month ago, a man originally from Pakistan used a meat cleaver to attack and wound two people who were on a cigarette break outside the offices where Charlie Hebdo was based at the time of the 2015 attack.
with Reuters and AFP
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