Macron condemns 'Islamic terrorist attack' in Paris suburb

The incident occurred in the Conflans Sainte Honorine suburb of Paris

PARIS (AP) - A suspect shot dead by police after the gruesome beheading of a history teacher in an attack near Paris Friday was an 18-year-old Chechen, police said.

Student Luisela, said he had been in Samuel's class earlier this month, when the civics teacher had shown pupils the caricatures published by the Charlie Hebdo magazine in 2015, which are considered blasphemous by Muslims.

Police have detained 11 people in relation to the case, including four of the attacker's relatives, as well as the parent who launched a campaign against the teacher, and some of his acquaintances.

Witnesses said the suspect was spotted at the school on Friday asking pupils where he could find Paty.

According to the source, the two detained parents had signalled their disagreement with the teacher's decision to show the cartoons.

Some chanted "Je Suis Samuel", or "I am Samuel", echoing the "Je Suis Charlie" cry that traveled around the world after Islamist terrorists killed 12 people at the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine in 2015 for publishing caricatures of the Islamic prophet.

The 18-year-old knifeman, who has not been named, was born in Moscow and is originally from Chechnya, according to the Associated Press (AP).

The accused, whose identity is yet to be ascertained, reportedly shouted "Allahu Akbar", or "God is Greatest", before the attack.

There had been no previous indication that he was a potential radical, a source close to the investigation said.

"It is at the same time a teacher who was assassinated but it is also the freedom of thought, of expression, which were infringed", Ricard said at a news conference in which he said an anti-terror probe was opened with charges of "assassination in connection with a terrorist enterprise" and "criminal terrorist association".

The teacher had received threats over "a debate" about the caricatures around 10 days ago, the police said.

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Between bursts of applause, others recited: "Freedom of expression, freedom to teach".

Mr Macron assured that the nation would stand together against "obscurantism" to "protect and defend" teachers.

A national tribute will be organized for Wednesday, President Emmanuel Macron's office said.

Prime Minister Castex tweeted that teachers would continue to "awaken the critical spirit of the citizens of the republic, to emancipate them from all totalitarianism".

The Strasbourg-based Assembly of Chechens in Europe said in a statement that "like all French people our community is horrified by this incident".

The teacher "simply said to the Muslim children: 'Leave, I don't want it to hurt your feelings.' That's what my son told me", the parent said.

The teacher filed a complaint of defamation in response.

Suspects accused of links to the Charlie Hebdo attacks are now before the courts in a trial that is expected to run until mid-November.

Police went to the scene after receiving a call about a suspicious individual loitering near the school, a police source said. On arrival, they found the dead man and, 200 meters away, saw a suspect armed with a knife-like weapon who threatened them.

France's National Anti-Terrorism Prosecutor's Office (PNAT) Attorney General Jean-Francois Ricard said Saturday that the decapitation of a college teacher was the tragedy of the loss of the very freedom of expression Samuel Paty was trying to teach.

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