France’s president on Monday called for a “ruthless” government response to those with “terrorist ideologies,” days after a teacher was stabbed to death in what he has called an act of “Islamist terror.”
Emmanuel Macron wants his ministers “to embody a ruthless state towards all those who harbour hate and terrorist ideologies,” a senior aide told reporters.
He has called on police to comb through their files of radicalized people who could be deported from France to make sure no one was overlooked and has told the interior minister to take a “special approach to young men between the ages of 16-25 from the Caucasus”, the aide said.
On Friday, 57-year-old Dominique Bernard, a French teacher, was stabbed to death at a school in the northeastern town of Arras.
Police have named the suspected perpetrator as Mohammed Moguchkov, 20, who was born in Russia’s predominantly Muslim North Caucasus republic of Ingushetia and reportedly arrived in France at the age of five.
He reportedly cried “Allahu akbar!” (God is greatest) during the attack. He has been detained, but has not yet spoken, according to a police source.
He was already on a French national register as a potential security threat and under electronic and physical surveillance by France’s domestic intelligence agency, the DGSI. His father, who was also on the list, was deported in 2018.
The killing has sent shockwaves through the country and led to calls for tighter security at schools. The government has already put the country on high alert and deployed 7,000 troops.
Friday’s attack came almost three years to the day after the October 16, 2020 beheading of teacher Samuel Paty near his school in a Paris suburb.
Paty was beheaded by 18-year-old Abdullah Anzorov, a radicalized refugee born in Moscow to ethnic Chechen parents. Like Ingushetia, Chechnya is a predominantly Muslim republic in Russia’s Caucasus region.
Anzorov, who had come to France as a six-year-old, was shot dead by police at the scene.