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‘These filthy teachers will pay’: French police arrest man suspected of threatening school staff while on morning walks

‘These filthy teachers will pay’: French police arrest man suspected of threatening school staff while on morning walks
A man described as “known to police” has been arrested in the French town of Athis-Mons near Paris, for allegedly making threats to local teachers, vowing to “avenge the Prophet.”

The suspect was detained on Wednesday morning in front of the Jean-Jaurès school in Athis-Mons, French media reported, citing police sources. The day before, police were deployed to the school to provide “security” for the facility following a complaint from a member of the teaching staff.

The man reportedly shouted threats at the teachers of the elementary school at least twice before his arrest while passing by the school during his morning walks, French media reported. He vowed to “avenge the prophet of Allah” and make “the filthy teachers pay.”

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The identity of the 39-year-old suspect has not been revealed. The man has no criminal record, a prosecutor’s office in the southern Paris suburb of Evry told Franceinfo. However, a police source has confirmed to Le Parisien that he was known to law enforcement, though not to the “intelligence services.”

It is unclear if any particular developments at the Jean-Jaurès school prompted the suspect to issue his threats. However, his actions sparked concern in the wake of the murder of Samuel Paty, a French teacher who was beheaded after showing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed to his class.

Just over a week after the Paris tragedy, four people were killed in an attack inside a church in Nice. Following the teacher’s murder, Paris vowed to fight Islamist extremism in the country as the nation appears to be witnessing a surge of Islamic radicalism.

As many as 66 probes have been launched into cases of suspected justification of terrorism since Paty’s murder in mid-October, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on Monday, adding that some of the investigations involve suspects as young as 16 or even 12 years old.

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A week ago, a high school student, 16, was indicted for justifying terrorism in the eastern city of Vesoul after he said that all “disbelievers” should share “the same fate as Mr. Paty.” On Tuesday, another high school student was taken into custody in Bourges, central France, after supposedly sharing photos of beheading on social media. An investigation was also opened against two 12-year-old students in Strasbourg after they made remarks suggesting they support Paty’s beheading during a minute of silence for the slain teacher.

Speaking to the Law Committee of the French National Assembly, Darmanin described what he called “a habit of hyper violence” among French youth as “extremely worrying.”

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