A teacher was killed in a gruesome attack near Paris on Friday, officials said, adding that police later killed the attacker and a terror investigation is underway.
A middle school history teacher was killed in the streets of Conflans Sainte-Honorine, a suburb northwest of Paris.
French newspaper Le Parisien identified the victim as “Samuel P.”, and reported the teacher opened up a discussion with his students on caricatures of the prophet Mohammed. He had received threats up to 10 days before the attack, and a parent filed a complaint.
Police responded to reports of a “suspicious man” loitering near the school. Officers saw a man with a knife in the area shortly after the attack.
Initial reports stated that the teacher had been beheaded, but subsequent reports said the attacker instead slit the teacher’s throat. Police have yet to verify the state of the victim.
A police source said that witnesses heard the attacker shout “Allah Akbar,” or “God is Great,” but police have not verified this account, according to reports. Prosecutors said they were treating the attack as “a murder linked to a terrorist organization.”
Police shot and killed the suspect after he did not respond to requests to drop his weapon, Reuters reported. French broadcaster BFMTV reported that the suspected attacker was 18 and born in Moscow.
The attack came as French President Emmanuel Macron is pushing for a new law against what he calls domestic “separatism,” notably by Islamic radicals accused of indoctrinating vulnerable people through home schools, extremist preaching and other activities.
France’s Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin, who was traveling to Morocco, is returning to France as a matter of urgency.
The attack is another in a series in Paris connected to issues of the Islamic faith.
Late last month, a man who emigrated to France from Pakistan used a meat cleaver to attack and wound two people outside the former offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
Charlie Hebdo itself had been the site of an attack in January 2015, which resulted in a dozen dead and almost as many injured after two gunmen entered the offices after it published a cartoon depicting the prophet Mohammed.
In Islam, depcitions of the prophet are a contentious issue, with many believing it is forbidden.
The Associated Press contributed to this story.
This is a developing story; check back for updates.