Attacker Tweeted against Muhammad caricature

French police officers stand as adults and children gather in front of flowers displayed at the entrance of a middle school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine

Anti-terrorism prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard confirmed the unnamed 18-year-old attacker, who was born in Russian Federation and is of Chechen origin, had asked children to point out Samuel Paty, 47, before he murdered him in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine on Friday.

The victim, who is said to have taught at a nearby middle school, had reportedly shown images of the Prophet Muhammad in class during a discussion about freedom of expression. Depictions of the Prophet Muhammad are prohibited by the Muslim faith. They said they were treating the incident as "a murder linked to a terrorist organisation" and related to a "criminal association with terrorists".

People gathered at the site of the attack on Saturday.

The deceased suspect was an 18-year-old male from Chechnya, Russia.

The teenager had approached pupils in the street and asked them to point out his victim, he said.

Investigators found a text claiming responsibility for the attack and a photograph of the dead victim on the assailant's phone, Ricard said, adding that the man was "unknown to intelligence services".

An arrest warrant is out for the father's half-sister, who has joined Daesh in Syria, Richard added. He didn't give her name, and it is not clear where she is now. Five more were detained overnight, including the father of a pupil at Paty's school, College du Bois d'Aulne, and an acquaintance of the pupil's father known to the intelligence services, the anti-terrorism prosecutor said.

Dozens of pupils and parents gathered on Saturday to lay flowers and show solidarity. Some said their children were distraught.

"[My daughter] is in pieces, terrorized by the violence of such an act".

"Deadly attacks by Islamist militants or their sympathisers has been devastating for France's Muslim community, ' Tareq Oubrou, the imam of a Bordeaux mosque, said". He was armed with a knife and an airsoft gun - which fires plastic pellets - and police opened fire after he failed to respond to orders to put down his arms, and acted in a threatening manner. The official could not be named because of the ongoing investigations.

Four relatives of the attacker, including a minor, were detained in the immediate hours after the Friday attack in the middle-class suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, the sources said.

He urged the nation to stand united against extremism.

The father of a schoolgirl had sought 47-year-old teacher Samuel Paty's dismissal and launched an online call for "mobilisation" against him after the lesson on freedom of expression, Jean-Francois Ricard said in a televised news conference.

The presidential Elysee Palace said there will be a national ceremony set at a future date to pay homage to Paty.

A Twitter thread posted last Friday alleged pupils had been shown cartoons of the prophet.

President Emmanuel Macron has visited the scene.

Reuters was not immediately able to authenticate the video.

Muslim leaders have condemned the killing, which many public figures perceived as an attack on the essence of French statehood and its values of secularism, freedom of worship and freedom of expression.



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