The police identified the man who beheaded the French history teacher Samuel Paty, 47, in the suburbs of Paris on Friday afternoon, as an 18-year-old Chechen refugee unknown to intelligence services.
The Moscow-born Abdullakh Anzorov arrived in France as a refugee when he was a boy. In March, he had been granted a 10-year residency in France.
Earlier this month, Paty showed his teenage students a caricature of Islam’s prophet Muhammad from the satirical newspaper Charlier Hebdo during a moral and civic education class discussion about freedom of speech. As Islam prohibits images of the prophet, Paty invited his Muslim students to leave the classroom if they wished.
The father of a 13-year-old girl who remained in class posted a video on YouTube stating the teacher had shown a photo of a naked man that was supposed to be the Muslim prophet. The father urged the other parents to join him in collective action against the history teacher.
The school organized a meeting between the teacher, the headteacher, and an official from the education authority. Samuel Paty then went to the police station after a legal complaint about his lesson. He reportedly told the investigators that the daugher of the man who filed the complaint was not in class that day.
The school received numerous ”menacing calls” in the next couple of days. Paty felt threatened too and he changed his usual route home to avoid the nearby wood.
French anti-terrorism prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard said that Abdullakh Anzorov waited outside the College du Bois d’Aulne, where Paty taught. Anzorov asked the pupils to identify his target, the officials noted.
Anzorov then followed the teacher who was on his way home on foot, inflicted numerous wounds to the head with a knife, and beheaded the victim, according to witnesses. Anzorov was reportedly heard shouting “Allahu Akbar” or “God is Greatest.” Afterward, Anzorov posted photos of the victim, calling French President Emmanuel Macron and the French people “infidels” and ”dogs.”
Soon after that, the attacked fired at police before being shot dead. The anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office announced the arrests of 10 suspects related to the teenager, including his grandfather, parents, and his 17-year-old brother.
Police are investigating possible links to Islam extremism, they added. According to one of the people in custody, Anzorov’s half-sister joined the Islamic State organization in Syria in 2014, the prosecutors said.
“One of our compatriots was murdered today because he taught the freedom of expression, the freedom to believe or not believe, ” Emmanuel Macron said in a statement. ”Terrorists will not divide France, obscurantism will not prevail,” Macron added. France will pay national tribune to Sammuel Paty on Wednesday, Macron added.
Do you think that the killer acted alone or he had accomplices?