French police officers of the anti-crime squad, Brigade Anti-Criminalite de nuit (BAC N 75) arrest a suspect in a street of Paris, on October 16, 2020
French police officers of the anti-crime squad, Brigade Anti-Criminalite de nuit (BAC N 75) arrest a suspect in a street of Paris, on October 16, 2020
AFP

A history teacher who opened a discussion with students on caricatures of Islam's Prophet Muhammad was decapitated in a French street on Friday. The suspected killer dead by police.

French President Emmanuel Macron called the killing of the teacher near Paris a "terrorist attack". The French anti-terrorism prosecutor has opened an investigation into the incident that took place just outside Paris.

Here is what we know about the attack:

According to the BFMTV broadcaster, a man was beheaded near an educational facility at 5 p.m. local time (14:00 GMT), and the counter-terrorism department of the prosecutor's office is investigating the incident.

The Parisien newspaper said that the victim was a 47-year-old history teacher and the suspect was a parent of one of the students. The victim reportedly taught freedom of speech and showed cartoons depicting Prophet Muhammad to his students. The cartoons are considered by Muslims as blasphemous.

The suspected attacker was believed to be an 18-year-old unknown to the police. He was spotted by patrol police in an adjacent commune carrying a knife. He reportedly shouted "Allahu Akbar", or "God is Greatest", before the attack. Officers shot him dead after he refused to surrender.

Last month, a man stabbed two people outside the former offices in central Paris of satirical weekly magazine Charlie Hebdo, which publishes controversial cartoons, including those of Prophet Muhammad. The offices were the scene of an attack in January 2015 that saw 12 people killed, including many of the magazine's staff.

Fourteen people are currently on trial over the attack.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Friday called the killing of the teacher near Paris as a "terrorist attack". "Our compatriot was killed for teaching, for teaching children freedom of speech, freedom to believe, or not to believe. Our compatriot was the victim of a terrorist attack," Macron, who arrived at the scene on Friday evening, said.

(With agencies)

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