A knife-wielding teen beheaded a middle-school teacher on a street in Paris on Friday — after the educator showed students cartoons depicting the Muslim prophet Mohammad in the nude, according to reports.
Immediately after the beheading, the attacker claimed responsibility and posted an image of his victim’s severed head on Twitter, a police source told NBC News. The grisly image was removed by the social-media site.
The attacker then confronted responding cops with an air-gun rifle — and shouted “Allahu Akbar,” or “God is great” in Arabic — as the officers opened fire, killing him.
“The working hypothesis is terrorism,” a law-enforcement source told the UK’s Telegraph newspaper.
The 18-year-old killer’s connection to the school wasn’t immediately clear.
Authorities said only said he was a Moscow-born ethnic Chechen, and while he was not on the French terror watch list, he was known to police for his record of petty crime, The Telegraph reported.
His victim, identified in the French press only as “Samuel P.,” taught history and geography.
Just a few days ago, the teacher showed his students cartoons of the prophet Mohammad from the magazine Charlie Hebdo during a class debate on freedom of expression, Le Monde and NBC News reported.
In 2015, 12 people were killed when Islamist terrorists attacked the magazine’s offices over its caricatures of the Muslim prophet.
Then late last month, another jihadist used a meat cleaver to attack and injure two people outside the magazine’s former offices.
One parent told The Telegraph that the slain teacher had invited Muslim pupils to leave the classroom before discussing the nude cartoons, so as not to offend them.
“At no time did he seek to lack respect, that’s what my son told me,” said the parent, Nordine Chaouadi, a Muslim himself.
Still, the incident riled other parents. One family filed a legal complaint against the teacher last week, The Telegraph reported.
Bomb-disposal experts were on hand in Friday’s attack because of the suspected presence of an explosives vest on the attacker, sources told Agence-France Presse.
National anti-terror prosecutors said they are investigating a killing “in relation to a terrorist enterprise” connected to a “criminal terrorist association,” Le Monde reported.
The beheading happened Friday afternoon in Conflans-Saint-Honorine, a western suburb of the French capital, the report said.
Police were at the scene after getting a call about a suspicious individual loitering near the school, the report said, citing a law-enforcement source.
President Emmanuel Macron visited the scene of what he called a “marked Islamist terrorist attack” Friday night.
“One of our fellow citizens was assassinated because he taught, taught his students freedom of expression, to believe or not to believe. Our compatriot was the victim of a marked Islamist terrorist attack,” the president said.
“I want to say this evening to all the teachers in France that we are with them, that the whole nation will be there, by their side today and tomorrow, to protect them, defend them, allow them to do their job, which is the most beautiful there is: to make free citizens. ”
Meanwhile, French politicians minced no words in decrying the apparent Islamist extremist attack.
“He dirties his religion,” said Jean-Luc Melenchon, a member of the French National Assembly.
“And he inflicts hell on all of us having to live with murderers of his kind.”