A history teacher who showed caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in class was beheaded on Friday and his attacker was shot dead by French police when they tried to arrest him, police and prosecutors said.
French counterterrorism prosecutors said they were investigating the attack on the outskirts of Paris around 5 p.m. (1500 GMT) near a school in Conflans Saint-Honorine, a western suburb of the French capital.
According to a police source, the victim was a history teacher who recently spoke in class about caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.
Prosecutors said they treated the incident as a “terrorist organization-related murder” and a “criminal association with terrorists”.
The allegations are similar to charges brought last month against a 25-year-old Pakistani man who wounded two people in a meat cleaver in order to avenge the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad by the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo.
The attacker seriously injured two employees of a television production agency whose offices are in the same block that used to be Charlie Hebdo. Both survived.
The attack came three weeks after an ongoing trial of alleged accomplices of the authors of the attacks on Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket in January 2015, which also resulted in a police officer being gunned down in the street.
17 people were killed in the three-day killing spree that heralded a wave of Islamist violence in France that has so far killed more than 250 people.
The process has sparked protests across France. Thousands of demonstrators have gathered against Charlie Hebdo and the French government.
Police arrived at the scene Friday after receiving a call about a suspect loitering near the school, a police source said.
There they found the dead person and saw the suspect nearby, armed with a knife-like weapon, threatening them when they tried to arrest him.
They opened fire and seriously injured him, the source said. He later died of his injuries, a court source said.
The scene was cordoned off and a bomb disposal unit was dropped on suspicion of the presence of an explosives vest, police said.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin returns to Paris on a visit to Morocco immediately after speaking with Prime Minister Jean Castex and President Emmanuel Macron.
Macron should join the main ministers of a crisis group set up in the Interior Ministry, the president’s office said.
The attack comes just days after a supporter of the Islamic State terrorist group who attacked a police officer with a hammer in front of Notre-Dame Cathedral in Paris was sentenced to 28 years in prison.
Farid Ikken, 43, was charged with police officers on patrol in front of the cathedral on 6 June 2017, shouting “This is for Syria”.