France teacher’s killer linked to jihadist in Idlib

Anzorov’s presumed contact was located through an IP address.
Thursday 22/10/2020
A French police officer stands next to a portrait of French teacher Samuel Paty in Montpellier, France. (AFP)
A French police officer stands next to a portrait of French teacher Samuel Paty in Montpellier, France. (AFP)

PARIS - The man who decapitated a teacher in France for showing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in class had been in contact with a Russian-speaking jihadist in Syria, a source close to the case said on Thursday.

Seven people have been charged with complicity after 18-year-old Chechen Abdullakh Anzorov killed Samuel Paty on Friday, including two teenagers who helped him identify the teacher.

The identity of the jihadist in Syria has not yet been established, added the source.

Le Parisien newspaper reported on Thursday that Anzorov’s presumed contact had been located through an IP address traced back to Idlib, a city in north-western Syria.

Anti-terror prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard said Wednesday that the two teenagers had been in a group of pupils who shared 300-350 euros ($356-$414) offered by the killer to help find Paty.

The pair are among seven people authorities have charged over the killing.

French President Emmanuel Macron pays his respects by Samuel Paty’s coffin inside Sorbonne University’s courtyard in Paris on October 21. (AFP)
French President Emmanuel Macron pays his respects by Samuel Paty’s coffin inside Sorbonne University’s courtyard in Paris on October 21. (AFP)

Also charged was a known Islamist radical who helped the father in his campaign.

Police have carried out dozens of raids since the crime, while the government has ordered the six-month closure of a mosque outside Paris and dissolved the Sheikh Yassin Collective, a group they said supported Hamas.

The Palestinian militant group said on Wednesday it had “no links” with the French organisation founded by Abdelhakim Sefrioui — the Islamist radical in custody over Paty’s murder.

The French government has earmarked for dissolution more than 50 other organisations it accuses of having links to radical Islam.

“Our fellow citizens expect actions,”French President Emanuel Macron said on Tuesday, promising that the government will intensify a crackdown on radical Islam.

“We will not give up cartoons,” Macron told a solemn ceremony Wednesday at the Sorbonne University in Paris.

“He was killed because Islamists want our future,” the French president said. “They will never have it.”