By John Leicester, Samuel Petrequin and Jeffrey Schaeffer | Related Press
ARRAS, France — A person of Chechen origin who was below surveillance by French safety companies over suspected Islamic radicalization stabbed a trainer to loss of life at his former highschool and critically wounded two different folks Friday in northern France, authorities mentioned.
The assault was being investigated by anti-terror prosecutors amid hovering international tensions over the conflict between Israel and Hamas. It additionally occurred nearly three years after one other trainer, Samuel Paty, was beheaded by a radicalized Chechen close to a Paris space college.
President Emmanuel Macron mentioned France had been “hit as soon as once more by the barbarity of Islamist terrorism.”
“Almost three years to the day after the assassination of Samuel Paty, terrorism has hit a college once more and in a context that we’re all conscious of,” Macron mentioned on the website of the assault in Arras, a metropolis 115 miles (185 kilometers) north of Paris.
A colleague and a fellow trainer recognized the useless educator as Dominique Bernard, a French language trainer on the Gambetta-Carnot college, which enrolls college students ages 11-18. The sufferer “stepped in and possibly saved many lives” however the two wounded folks — one other trainer and a safety guard — have been preventing for theirs, in line with Macron.
The French chief mentioned police thwarted an “tried assault” in one other area of the nation after the trainer’s deadly stabbing. He didn’t present particulars, however police mentioned a person armed with a knife was arrested popping out of a prayer corridor within the Yvelines area west of Paris. The person’s motives weren’t instantly clear, police mentioned.
The suspected assailant in Arras was arrested. The Nationwide Police power recognized him as a Russian nationwide of Chechen origin who was born in 2003. The French intelligence companies instructed The Related Press the person had been carefully watched for the reason that summer time with tails and phone surveillance and was stopped as just lately as Thursday for a police examine that discovered no wrongdoing.
Sliman Hamzi, a police officer who was one of many first on the scene, mentioned the suspected attacker, a former pupil on the college, shouted “Allahu akbar,” or “God is nice” in Arabic.
Hamzi mentioned he was alerted by one other officer, rushed to the college and noticed a male sufferer mendacity on the bottom exterior the college and the attacker being taken away. He mentioned the sufferer had his throat slit.
“I’m extraordinarily shocked by what I noticed,” the officer mentioned. “It was a horrible factor to see this poor man who was killed on the job by a lunatic.”
Macron traveled to Arras together with the inside and training ministers. Macron stopped for a second earlier than the blanket-covered physique of the trainer, which was within the car parking zone in entrance of the college. A puddle of blood was seen as forensic specialists labored across the physique.
Macron then went to see college students from the college in an adjoining constructing.
Faculty assaults are uncommon in France, and the federal government requested authorities to intensify vigilance in any respect faculties throughout the nation.
Julie Duhamel, an official with the the Unsa lecturers’ union within the Pas-de-Calais area that features Arras, instructed Franceinfo that lecturers had flagged the suspect’s radicalization “just a few years in the past.”
The suspected assailant’s phone conversations in latest days gave no indication of an impending assault, main intelligence officers to conclude that the assailant determined instantly on Friday to behave, intelligence companies instructed the AP.
Police mentioned the suspect’s youthful brother was taken into custody for questioning on Friday.
An older brother was arrested in the summertime of 2019 by the DGSI — France’s counter-terrorism intelligence service — on suspicion of being concerned within the planning of an assault that was thwarted, and is in jail, French intelligence mentioned.
The older brother additionally was a former pupil at the highschool focused Friday, in line with authorized information from his trial earlier this 12 months on terror-related prices. Investigation information present that in a college class in 2016 about freedom of expression, the older brother defended a terror assault in 2015 that killed 12 cartoonists on the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
The older brother is serving a 5-year jail time period for terror offences. He was convicted this 12 months of involvement in a plot for an armed assault across the presidential Elysee Palace in Paris that was thwarted by the intelligence companies. Different members of the novel Islamist group have been additionally jailed for as much as 15 years. He was the group’s solely Chechen.
Friday’s assault had echoes of Paty’s slaying on Oct 16, 2020 — additionally a Friday — by an 18-year-old who had grow to be radicalized. Just like the suspect in Friday’s stabbings, the sooner attacker had a Chechen background; police shot and killed him.
Martin Doussau, a philosophy trainer at Gambetta-Carnot, mentioned the assailant was armed with two knives and seemed to be looking particularly for a historical past trainer. Paty taught historical past and geography.
“I used to be chased by the attacker, who … requested me if I train historical past. (He mentioned), ‘Are you a historical past trainer, are you a historical past trainer?’” mentioned Doussau, who recounted how he barricaded himself behind a door till police used a stun gun to subdue the attacker.
“When he circled and requested me if I’m a historical past trainer, I instantly considered Samuel Paty,” Doussau instructed reporters.
Prosecutors mentioned they have been contemplating prices of terror-related homicide and tried homicide in opposition to the suspect.
The assault got here amid heightened tensions world wide over Hamas’ assault on southern Israel and Israel’s blistering navy response, which have killed a whole bunch of civilians on either side.
French Inside Minister Gérald Darmanin on Thursday ordered native authorities to ban all pro-Palestinian demonstrations amid an increase in antisemitic acts.
France is estimated to have the world’s third-largest Jewish inhabitants after Israel and the U.S., in addition to the biggest Muslim inhabitants in Western Europe.
France’s Nationwide Meeting, the decrease home of Parliament, held a minute of silence for the victims on the opening of its Friday session.
Macron mentioned the college in Arras would reopen as quickly as Saturday morning, and he urged the folks of France to “keep united.”
“The selection has been made to not give in to terror,” he mentioned. “We should not let something divide us, and we should do not forget that faculties and the transmission of information are on the coronary heart of this struggle in opposition to ignorance.”
Leicester reported from Paris and Petrequin from Brussels. Angela Charlton in Paris, Nicolas Vaux-Montagny in Lyon and Michel Spingler in Arras, France, contributed.