World

Suspect Stalked French School Before Beheading Teacher, Officials Say

PARIS — The suspect within the beheading of a history teacher in a Paris suburb was an 18-year-old immigrant of Chechen descent who was angered by the classroom show of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, French officers mentioned on Saturday.

The suspect, recognized by the authorities as Abdoulakh A., stalked the realm exterior the college on Friday afternoon earlier than following the instructor, whom he stabbed and decapitated with a knife, Jean-François Ricard, the highest antiterrorism prosecutor, mentioned at a information convention.

“The particular person was in entrance of the school within the afternoon and requested college students to point the longer term sufferer to him,’’ Mr. Ricard mentioned, referring to the center faculty the place the instructor had taught. The suspect was fatally shot by the police in a confrontation quickly after the killing.

Investigators discovered a message planning the assault on the suspect’s cellphone, written just a few hours earlier than, Mr. Ricard mentioned. Then, shortly earlier than he was killed by the police, the suspect uploaded {a photograph} of the sufferer to Twitter, he added.

The grotesque killing gave the impression to be the fruits of a few weeks of rigidity on the faculty, College du Bois-d’Aulne, in a quiet, middle-class suburb north of Paris. Muslim mother and father upset over the classroom show of two caricatures printed by the satirical journal Charlie Hebdo had contacted faculty and police officers, however movies uploaded on social media by one father widened the dispute to an outdoor viewers.

Investigators had been nonetheless attempting to piece collectively how the suspect spent his days earlier than the assault, Mr. Ricard mentioned. But the suspect didn’t seem to have any direct ties to the college or to have been beforehand concerned within the dispute.

Born in Moscow, the suspect lived in France with the standing of a refugee, Mr. Ricard mentioned, including that he was not recognized to antiterrorism officers.

The brutal killing was the second violent episode inside weeks to be linked to the caricatures printed by Charlie Hebdo, which had led to lethal assaults in Paris in 2015. Last month, because the trial of accomplices within the 2015 assault received underway, the journal republished the drawings — an act that was seen as a daring assertion within the title of freedom of expression by some however as reckless and pointless provocation by others.

Last month, a 25-year-old Pakistani immigrant attacked two people exterior the previous places of work of Charlie Hebdo, apparently angered after watching movies exhibiting protests in Pakistan towards the republication of the cartoons.

Beyond its brutality, Friday’s killing hit a far greater nerve in France as President Emmanuel Macron and different high authorities officers rushed to the scene on Friday night.

Jean-Michel Blanquer, the minister of nationwide schooling, mentioned that in Friday’s killing, it was “the republic that was attacked.’’ France mentioned a ceremony can be organized to pay nationwide homage to the slain instructor.

The minister’s phrases mirrored the central function performed by France’s public colleges — hewing to a nationwide curriculum established by the central authorities — in instilling civic values and a nationwide identification. But additionally they underscored the recurring tensions between France’s conventional republican values and people of newer arrivals, particularly these of Muslim religion who oppose the publication of the caricatures.

The tensions at College du Bois-d’Aulne emerged early this month because the instructor — who was 47 and, in response to mother and father and college students, had taught on the faculty for under few years — broached the subject of freedom of expression.

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