French police arrest 9 people after 18-year-old decapitates teacher in terror attack

Nine people have been arrested after a teacher in France was beheaded by an 18-year-old Chechen in what Emmanuel Macron called a “blatant Islamist terrorist attack”. 

Samuel Paty had shown his pupils cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in class on freedom of expression. The killer, who was shot dead by police on Friday in broad daylight, was identified as an 18 year-old Chechen Russian born in Moscow.

The French Prime Minister Jean Castex met with teacher’s unions this morning. He said France would react in the “strongest terms” to the attack, which happened at about 5pm on Friday. 

“I want to share with you my total indignation. Secularism, the backbone of the of the French Republic, was targeted in this vile act,” Mr Castex said.

A national tribute to Mr Paty is being planned. Parents of pupils laid flowers at the school gate. Some said their children were distraught.

Five suspects were rounded up by police, among them two parents of pupils at the College du Bois d’Aulne, last night and a further four arrested this morning. They include the parents of the killer, his little brother, who is a minor, and his grandfather. The family were described as Chechen refugees in French media. 

The attacker, who was killed by police after threatening them with an airgun, was not one of Mr Paty’s students. 

He was never educated in the Paris suburb and lived in Evreux in Normandy. Investigators are trying to establish how the killer was able to find the teacher, recognise him and be familiar with his routine. He was not known to be radicalised by police.

The 47-year-old history and geography teacher was decapitated with a butcher’s knife in the street about three hundred metres from the school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, north-west of Paris at around 5pm. A photo of his severed head was posted by a Twitter account, thought to belong to the murderer.

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