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French Officials Identify Chechen Man as Suspect in Teacher Beheading

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PARIS—Police have detained nine people in connection with a beheading of a middle-school teacher near his school in a Paris suburb, a French official said, an attack authorities are investigating as a terrorist act.

The suspect in the attack, whom police shot and killed in a confrontation shortly afterward, was carrying a document identifying him as an 18-year-old Russian man of Chechen origin, the official said. The people detained include members of the suspect’s family, as well as one parent of a child at the school where the teacher worked, the official said.

The teacher, Samuel Paty, who taught history and geography, was targeted because of a class he had given on freedom of expression, French Education Minister Jean-Michel Blanquer said Saturday in a video published on Twitter.

“It’s an attack against the republic because school is the backbone of the republic,” Mr. Blanquer said in the video.

More details of the investigation into the attack are expected at a briefing of France’s antiterrorism prosecutor scheduled for Saturday afternoon.

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