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Suspect of the beheading of a teacher in France was a Chechen teenager

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PARIS: One suspect shot dead by police after the gruesome beheading of a history teacher in an attack near Paris on Friday was an 18-year-old Chechen, police said.
France’s counter-terrorism prosecution service said authorities investigating the man’s horrific murder in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine also arrested nine suspects, including the attacker’s grandparents, parents and 17-year-old brother.
The teacher had talked about caricatures of Islam Prophet Muhammad with his class, authorities said.
Chechnya is a predominantly Muslim Russian republic in the North Caucasus. Two wars in the 1990s triggered a wave of emigration, with many Chechens heading to Western Europe.
France has seen occasional violence involving its Chechen community in recent months, believed to be linked to local criminal activity and the settling of scores.
A police officer said the suspect in Friday’s gun attack was shot to death about 600 meters (yards) from where the teacher died. He was armed with a knife and an airsoft pistol, which shoots plastic pellets, and the police opened fire after he did not respond to orders to lower his weapons and acted in a threatening manner.
French President Emmanuel Macron rushed to the school on Friday night to denounce what he called an “Islamist terror attack.” He urged the nation to stand united against extremism.
“One of our compatriots was killed today because he taught … freedom of expression, the freedom to believe or not to believe,” Macron said.
The French counterterrorism prosecutor opened a murder investigation on an alleged terrorist motive, the prosecutor’s office said.
It is the second time in three weeks that terror has attacked France linked to the cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad.
Last month, a young man from Pakistan was arrested after stabbing two people with a butcher knife outside the former offices of the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
The weekly was the target of a deadly newsroom attack in 2015, and this month it republished cartoons of the prophet to underscore the right to freedom of information when a trial linked to that attack was opened.
Friday’s terror attack came as the Macron government is working on a bill to tackle Islamic radicals, who authorities say are creating a parallel society outside of the values ​​of the French Republic. France has the largest Muslim population in Western Europe with up to 5 million members, and Islam is the country’s No. 2 religion.
The teacher had received threats after opening a discussion “for a debate” about the cartoons about 10 days ago, a police officer told The Associated Press. A student’s father had filed a complaint against the teacher, another police officer said.

Times of India

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