French government dissolves pro-Hamas group

French government issues order to dissolve Collective Cheikh Yassine, which is suspected of being tied to beheading last week near Paris.

Elad Benari ,

Stabbing attack in the Paris suburb of Conflans St Honorine
Stabbing attack in the Paris suburb of Conflans St Honorine
Reuters

The French government on Wednesday issued an order to dissolve a domestic pro-Hamas Islamic group after the beheading last week near Paris of a teacher who had shown students caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, The Associated Press reports.

Government spokesperson Gabriel Attal said the Collective Cheikh Yassine group was formally banned during a Cabinet meeting because it was “implicated, linked to Friday’s attack” and it was used to promote anti-republican hate speech.

Other groups will be dissolved “in the coming weeks” for similar reasons, Attal said.

The order was issued a day after French President Emmanuel Macron announced the group would be dissolved due to being “directly implicated” in the murder of teacher Samuel Paty.

A terror investigation is under way into Paty’s slaying. Authorities have identified the killer as Abdoullakh Anzorov., an 18-year-old Moscow-born Chechen refugee who was later shot dead by police.

A judicial official said that seven people who were detained as part of an investigation into the slaying, including two minors, were to go before an investigating magistrate later Wednesday for eventual preliminary charges.

The seven were among 16 people, including five adolescents, initially detained for questioning. Nine are being released. The official was not authorized to be quoted by name.

Named after the founder of Hamas, Collective Cheikh Yassine was founded in the early 2000s by a man who is among the individuals detained for questioning in the teacher’s killing.

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on French news broadcaster BFMTV that the person in question helped disseminate a message that called for mobilization against the teacher. The message, prepared by a student’s father, was part of what increasingly appeared to be a case turning in part on a spiraling fever on social media among some Muslim individuals or groups.

The 47-year-old Paty was attacked on Friday as he was making his way home from the junior high school where he taught in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, located 40 kilometers (25 miles) northwest of Paris.

In recent years, France has been hit by a number of attacks claimed by ISIS, the biggest one being the attack in November of 2015 in which 129 people were murdered.

The country has been under a heightened alert in recent years in the wake of the attacks.

Just last month, a 25-year-old man wounded two people in a meat cleaver attack in Paris. He was subsequently charged with "attempted murder with relation to a terrorist enterprise."



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