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France: Man decapitates teacher due to “teaching students freedom of speech”

PARIS (CNN/KWWL) — A man decapitated a schoolteacher in a suburb of Paris on Friday afternoon and was later shot dead by police, France's anti-terror prosecutor told CNN.

The victim has been identified as 47-year-old Samuel Paty, a history and geography teacher.

Paty's body was found in Éragny-sur-Oise, northwest of the French capital, according to the French National Anti-Terror Prosecutor's office. The prosecutor's office confirmed that the attacker was killed by police in the same area.

The prosecutor's office told CNN that Paty was a teacher at a secondary school in the region of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine.

French President Emmanuel Macron said Paty was "killed because he was teaching students freedom of speech, the freedom to believe and not believe."

Macron, speaking at the scene, said that the teacher had been the "victim of an Islamist attack."

Police have provided few other details about the attacker, the victim or the incident. The anti-terror prosecutor's office, which has taken over the investigation of the attack, has not spoken publicly about a motive.

Macron will travel to the town following an emergency meeting at the interior ministry, the Elysée Palace told CNN.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmamin said on Twitter that he was "keeping himself directly informed" of the situation "from the crisis room (he) had opened, in liaison with the President of the Republic and the Prime Minister."

Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer described the attack as a "despicable assassination of one of its servants, a teacher," and said his thoughts were with the family of the victim.

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