French teacher's killing sparks police ops

A demonstrator pays tribute to slain history teacher Samuel Paty as thousands honour him in Paris.
A demonstrator pays tribute to slain history teacher Samuel Paty as thousands honour him in Paris.

More police operations are under way over the killing of a French teacher by a suspected Islamist, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin says.

French history teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded on Friday outside his school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, in the northern Paris suburbs, by an 18-year-old man who was subsequently shot dead by police.

The killing sparked outrage in France, and drew condemnation from President Emmanuel Macron and political parties.

French Prime Minister Jean Castex stood with citizens, associations and unions demonstrating on the Place de la Republique in Paris in support of freedom of speech and in memory of the 47-year-old teacher.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said there were about 80 investigations under way into online hate speech in France and that he was looking into whether or not certain groups from the French Muslim community should be dissolved following accusations of promoting violence and hate.

"Police operations have taken place and more will take place, concerning tens of individuals," he told Europe 1 radio.

A police source told Reuters late on Sunday that France was preparing to expel 231 foreigners on a government watch list for suspected extremist religious beliefs. It was not immediately clear if Monday's operations were connected.

Earlier this month, Paty showed his pupils cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in a class on freedom of expression, angering a number of Muslim parents. Muslims believe that any depiction of the Prophet is blasphemous.

The attacker, who was of Chechen origin and was born in Russia, had been living in the town of Evreux northwest of Paris. He was not previously known to the intelligence services.

The killing shocked France and carried echoes of an attack five years ago on the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo after it published the cartoons.

Australian Associated Press