French President Emmanuel Macron called the killing of a teacher in northern France an act of terrorism and appealed for unity as tensions rise in the country as a result of the Israel-Hamas war.
(Bloomberg) — French President Emmanuel Macron called the killing of a teacher in northern France an act of terrorism and appealed for unity as tensions rise in the country as a result of the Israel-Hamas war.
The fatal stabbing was an act of the “barbarity of Islamic terrorism,” said Macron, who traveled to the school in the town of Arras.
Two additional people were severely wounded in the knife attack. The attacker was arrested shortly after and the investigation has been transferred to the anti-terrorist prosecutor’s office.
A second potential attack in a different region was thwarted by authorities, Macron said.
France had already boosted its police presence, especially around synagogues and Jewish schools, Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said earlier this week. He also banned pro-Palestinian demonstrations citing high risk of violence, though thousands of people gathered on Thursday in Paris and other cities for pro-Palestinian rallies that were subsequently dispersed. On Friday, Darmanin called for heightened security at schools across the country.
The assailant in Arras, of Chechen origin, had previously been flagged by authorities for being radicalized, Agence France-Presse reported. The assailant’s brother was arrested near another school but was unarmed, according to AFP.
In a separate incident, a person was arrested in a Paris suburb on Friday afternoon for carrying a weapon. It wasn’t clear if this was the other incident referred to by Macron.
The killing occurred just days before the third anniversary of the gruesome murder of Samuel Paty, who had shown caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed in class, by a jihadist.
–With assistance from Ania Nussbaum and Samy Adghirni.
(Adds context on tensions in France in fifth paragraph; details of second arrest in seventh paragraph.)
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