A man armed with a knife has beheaded a history teacher in front of his school in a suburb of Paris.
The teacher had recently showed and discussed blasphemous caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) in class, according to police sources.
France’s anti-terror prosecutor said it was investigating the fatal attack which took place in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, a suburb north-west of Paris.
President Emmanuel Macron headed to the scene following an emergency meeting at the French Interior Ministry.
The attacker, whose identity has not been established, was shot by police as they tried to arrest him a few streets away and later died of his injuries. Police said witnesses had heard him shout “Allahu Akbar.”
A week before this attack, the teacher had given a course on secularism in his class and he reportedly asked his Muslim students to leave the room because he was going to show some cartoons of the Prophet that could have caused offence.
The murder was an attack on the French nation as a whole, Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said on Twitter. “Our unity and our resolve are the only responses faced with the monstrosity of Islamist terrorism,” the minister wrote.
Last month, a 25-year old man attacked two people with a meat cleaver over the publication of caricatures of the Prophet by the racist, Islamophobic magazine Charlie Hebdo.
The attacker seriously injured two employees of a TV production agency, whose offices are on the same block that used to house Charlie Hebdo. Both survived.
That attack came three weeks into an ongoing trial of suspected accomplices of the authors of the January 2015 attacks on Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket.
Seventeen people were killed in the three-day spree that heralded a wave of anti-state violence in France that has so far claimed more than 250 lives.
Charlie Hebdo said last month it published the cartoons to assert its right to freedom of expression, and to show it would not be cowed into silence by violent attacks.