By Pascal Rossignol, Layli Foroudi and Michel Rose
ARRAS, France (RockedBuzz by way of Reuters) – A 20-year-old man stabbed a teacher to loss of life and severely injured two different individuals in an attack on Friday at a faculty in the northern French city of Arras, which President Emmanuel Macron condemned as “barbaric Islamic terrorism”. “
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin mentioned France was now in its highest state of alert and that the Arras attack had a connection to occasions in the Middle East, the place Israel was waging a navy offensive to root out fighters from Hamas after their lethal rampage.
Only the day earlier than, Macron had urged the French to stay united and chorus from bringing the Israel-Hamas battle house.
Visiting the web site of the attack, Macron paid tribute to the lifeless teacher, Dominique Bernard, whose physique nonetheless lay below a blanket surrounded by a pool of blood.
“(He) intervened and undoubtedly saved many lives himself,” Macron mentioned. “Our alternative is just not to give in to terror, not to let something divide us.”
The suspect, recognized by prosecutors as Mohamed M., who was arrested, was a former pupil of the Lycee Gambetta highschool the place the attack occurred, a police supply mentioned. One of the attackers’ brothers was additionally arrested close by.
The investigation was entrusted to the Anti-Terrorism Prosecutor’s Office.
Numerous witnesses heard Friday’s attacker shouting “Allahu Akbar,” in accordance to prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard.
The attacker was on a state watch record of individuals recognized to be a potential safety danger, a police supply mentioned. The “Fiche S” incorporates hundreds of names and solely a small quantity are actively monitored.
Darmanin mentioned the man had been monitored by intelligence companies, his telephone had been tapped in latest days as authorities had seen suspicious conduct however no indication of a deliberate attack.
The man was described by police as a Chechen of Russian origin, however by some French media as an Ingush of Russian origin.
A safety supply mentioned an older brother of the alleged attacker was serving time in jail for hyperlinks to Islamist militant networks and glorification of terrorist acts.
France has been focused by a collection of Islamist assaults over the years, the worst of which was a simultaneous attack by gunmen and suicide bombers on leisure venues and cafes in Paris in November 2015.
Darmanin mentioned the state of alert was not raised in response to any specific menace.
In 2020, a teacher, Samuel Paty, was beheaded by a Chechen teenager who wished to avenge his use of cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad throughout a lesson on freedom of expression.
“Once again a school has been hit by the barbarity of Islamic terrorism,” Macron mentioned.
Video obtained by RockedBuzz by way of Reuters confirmed three individuals, one with a chair, attempting to cease the attacker in the faculty automotive park and being hit by him. “He has a knife, he has a knife,” mentioned one of these watching the scene.
Philosophy teacher Martin Doussau mentioned he was chased by the attacker however managed to escape unhurt after locking himself in a room. The attacker did not seem to need to settle a grudge, he added
“He was looking for a history teacher,” Doussau advised RockedBuzz by way of Reuters. “That’s what makes me think this wasn’t about… settling a personal vendetta with a teacher.”
A safety alarm was activated later at one other faculty in Arras, a faculty operator advised RockedBuzz by way of Reuters. A 3rd man was arrested in the similar incident, when he tried to enter the faculty with a suspicious backpack, French media reported.
Education Minister Gabriel Attal mentioned safety could be strengthened in faculties throughout France.
Macron mentioned one other attack had been foiled in the wider Paris area on Friday.
Pupils remained confined to their school rooms for hours.
Louis, a 15-year-old pupil, mentioned the college students initially thought it was a drill, when the alarm sounded they usually had to cover.
“It shows that it can happen anywhere,” he advised RockedBuzz by way of Reuters.
Arras is a metropolis in the deindustrialized and ethnically various northern nook of France, a area the place the far proper enjoys sturdy help.
(Reporting by Pascal Rossignol and Ardee Napolitano in Arras and Michel Rose, Layli Foroudi, Charlotte Van Campenhout, Tassilo Hummel, Benoit van Overstraeten, Blandine Henault in Paris; Writing by Ingrid Melander; Editing by Richard Lough, Deborah Kyvrikosaios and Jonathan Oatis)