France terror attack: 47-year-old ‘decapitated’ in Paris suburb named as teacher Samuel Paty | World News


The teacher killed in a suburb of Paris in an Islamist terror attack has been named as Samuel Paty, Sky News has confirmed.

Mr Paty, 47, was “assassinated”, France‘s president has said.

The history teacher, who is said to have discussed images of the Prophet Muhammad with his pupils, was beheaded, it has been reported.

The teacher beheaded in an Islamist terror attack in a Paris suburb has been named as Samuel Paty
Image:
The teacher reportedly beheaded in an Islamist terror attack in a Paris suburb has been named as Samuel Paty

The suspected attacker was shot dead about 600 metres from the scene, according to the AP news agency.

According to Le Parisien newspaper, the attacker was an 18-year-old man of Chechen origin, who was carrying a knife.

French anti-terror prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard said the suspect, who had been granted a 10-year residency in France as a refugee in March, was not known to intelligence services.

He added that a text claiming responsibility and a photograph of Mr Paty were found on the attacker’s phone.

The suspect had been seen at the school asking students about the teacher, and the headteacher said he had received several threatening phone calls.

The attacker is believed to have been shot after he refused to put down his gun.

A video of his last moments is thought to feature the sounds of the gun being fired, followed by a volley of shots as he was killed.

A gun was found at his side. Reports say it was an airsoft gun that fired plastic pellets.

Emmanuel Macron
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Emmanuel Macron at the scene

The country’s anti-terror prosecutor earlier called the incident a stabbing, but both the Reuters and AP news agencies said police sources told them the victim was decapitated.

Witnesses heard the attacker shout “Allahu Akbar”, or God is great, Reuters said.

The attack happened on a street in Conflans Sainte-Honorine, northwest of the French capital, at about 5pm local time.

Mr Paty is understood to be a 47-year-old history teacher
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Mr Paty is understood to be a 47-year-old history teacher

Visiting the scene, Emmanuel Macron called it a “cowardly attack”, saying that the man was a “victim of an Islamist terrorist attack” and was killed because he “taught the freedom of expression, of believing and not believing”.

The president said France would “protect and defend” its teachers.

France’s anti-terrorism prosecutors have said nine suspects have also been arrested, including the grandparents, parents and 17-year-old brother of the attacker.

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Families and children have laid flowers at the site of the attack.

Mr Paty reportedly showed images of the Prophet Muhammad in class during a discussion about freedom of expression on 5 October.

A complaint was made and the teacher was later spoken to by police.

Sky News understands that among those who complained was a parent who posted a video online about the incident. That parent is among the nine arrested.

The suspect was shot dead about 600 metres from where the attack took place
Image:
The suspect was shot dead about 600 metres from where the attack took place

The suspect did not have a child at the school, AP said.

A Twitter thread posted last Friday alleged pupils had been shown cartoons of the prophet.

However, another parent of one of the teacher’s pupils said Mr Paty asked Muslim students to raise their hands and to leave the classroom before they were taught about the image.

She said: “My son understood right away – the evening he came home, he understood right away that it was not to discriminate.

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Emergency services on the scene where the attacker was shot dead

“He told me, no it was not to offend us, it was images that he didn’t want us to see. My son understood that at no moment he (teacher) had lacked respect.”

The Elysee Palace said that there would be a national ceremony at a future date to pay homage to Mr Paty.

Education minister Jean-Michel Blanquer tweeted that the republic had been attacked through the “despicable assassination of one of its servants”.

He added that “unity and firmness are the only answers to the monstrosity of Islamist terrorism”.

British foreign secretary Dominic Raab tweeted to express the government’s solidarity with France, saying: “My thoughts are with the people of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine this evening following reports of a truly horrific attack. The UK stands in solidarity with France at this time.”

Police officers secure the area near the scene of a stabbing attack in the Paris suburb of Conflans St Honorine, France, October 16, 2020
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Witnesses heard the attacker shout Allahu Akbar

It is the second terrorism-related incident since the opening of an ongoing trial on the newsroom massacre in January 2015 at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo after the publication of caricatures of the prophet of Islam.

As the trial opened, the paper republished caricatures of the prophet to underscore the right of freedom of expression.

Exactly three weeks ago, a young man from Pakistan was arrested after stabbing, outside the newspaper’s former offices, two people who suffered non life-threatening injuries.

The 18-year-old told police he was upset about the publication of the caricatures.



Sky News