Teacher killed in France after showing blasphemous sketches in class

Published October 17, 2020
A French police officer stands guard a street in Eragny on October 16 where an attacker was shot dead by policemen after he decapitated a man earlier on the same day in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine. — AFP
A French police officer stands guard a street in Eragny on October 16 where an attacker was shot dead by policemen after he decapitated a man earlier on the same day in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine. — AFP

PARIS: A history teacher who had shown sketches of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) in class was on Friday decapitated and his assailant shot dead by French police as they tried to arrest him, police and prosecutors said.

French anti-terror prosecutors said they were investigating the assault which happened on the outskirts of Paris at around 5pm near a school in Conflans Saint-Honorine, a western suburb of the French capital.

According to a police source, the victim was a history teacher who recently discussed sketches of the Prophet (PBUH) in class.

Prosecutors said they were treating the incident as “a murder linked to a terrorist organisation” and related to a “criminal association with terrorists”.

The allegations are similar to charges brought last month against a 25-year-old man who wounded two people in a meat cleaver attack to avenge the publication of blasphemous sketches by the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.

The attacker seriously injured two employees of a TV production agency, whose offices are on the same block that used to house Charlie Hebdo. Both survived the attack.

That attack came three weeks into an ongoing trial of suspected accomplices of the authors of the January 2015 attacks on Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket, which also saw a policewoman gunned down in the street.

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.

They opened fire and injured him severely, the source said. He later died of his injuries, a judicial source said.

The scene has been cordoned off and a bomb disposal unit dispatched because of the suspected presence of an explosives vest, the police source said.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, on a visit to Morocco, is returning to Paris immediately after talking with Prime Minister Jean Castex and President Emmanuel Macron, his office said.

Macron was to join key ministers at a crisis group set up in the interior ministry, the president’s office said.

Published in Dawn, October 17th, 2020

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