Samuel Paty’s killer was in contact with an Islamic fighter in Syria, French media has reported. France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor confirmed on Thursday that seven people, including two schoolchildren, had been charged with terrorism offences after Abdullakh Anzorov, 18, killed the teacher with a 30cm knife on Friday.
Anzorov had contact with an as yet unidentified Russian-speaking jihadist in Syria who was located through an IP address that had been traced back to Idlib, a jihadist holdout in north-western Syria. He first established contact with the jihadist in September this year via Instagram. Anzorov said in an audio message in Russian after the killing he had “avenged the prophet”, whom Paty had portrayed “in an insulting way”. Amid references to the Qur’an and Islamic State, he added: “Brothers, pray that Allah accepts me as a martyr.” The message was published in a video along with two tweets, one showing the victim’s severed head and another in which Anzorov confessed to the murder.
Six people have been charged with complicity in a terrorist murder, including two pupils, aged 14 and 15, part of a group outside the school who accepted €300 (£270) or €350 from the killer to identify the teacher, the prosecutor, Jean-François Ricard, said. Two friends of Anzorov aged 18 and 19 were charged with the same offence, one after driving him to the school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, and the other after helping him buy weapons. A third faces lesser charges.
Brahim C, the father of one of Paty’s pupils, is charged with complicity in a terrorist murder. He was the one who started a social media campaign against the teacher even though his daughter was not in the lesson concerned, and an Islamist radical named as Abdelhakim Sefrioui who also provoked online outrage on Facebook and YouTube.
Ricard said there was “a direct link of causality” between Brahim C and Sefrioui’s actions and the murder. There was evidence the killer had been “directly inspired” by some of their social media posts, verbatim notes of which were found on his phone, Ricard said.
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