The killing comes amid the historic trial of 14 alleged accomplices in the 2015 attack on Charlie Hebdo, a satirical newspaper that had published cartoons of Muhammad.
A high school teacher in a Paris suburb was decapitated Friday afternoon, French authorities said, in an attack that occurred after the teacher had allegedly shown caricatures of the prophet Muhammad to his students.
The attack occurred after 5 p.m. near a school in the Paris suburb of Conflans-Saint-Honorine to the northwest of Paris, according to French news reports. French police shot the suspect in a nearby town, killing him, said French police sources cited in news reports.
France’s national anti-terror prosecutor immediately opened an investigation for “murder in connection with a terrorist enterprise” and “criminal terrorist association.” French President Emmanuel Macron planned to go to the crime scene, and Interior Minister Gerard Darmanin returned to Paris from an official visit to Morocco.
French media identified the victim as a high school history and geography teacher. Parents in the area had recently complained that a local teacher had shown students caricatures of the prophet Muhammad as part of a lesson on freedom of expression, France’s BFM television reported.
As authorities worked to establish a more complete picture, the potential motive of seeking revenge for the Muhammad cartoons led investigators to quickly consider the case a terrorist attack, Le Monde reported.
“Tonight, it was the Republic that was attacked with the despicable assassination of one of its servants, a professor,” said Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer. “I think tonight of him, of his family. Our unity and steadfastness are the only answers to the monstrosity of Islamist [ … ]