France cracks down on pro-Hamas group after beheading

French President Emmanuel Macron says pro-Hamas group with ties to beheading of teacher will be dissolved.

Elad Benari ,

Emmanuel Macron
Emmanuel Macron
Reuters

French President Emmanuel Macron on Tuesday announced the dissolution of a pro-Hamas group which is active in France, accused of being “directly implicated” in the murder of teacher Samuel Paty, France24 reports.

Macron, who spoke days after Paty was beheaded in a suburb of Paris, said actions against Islamist extremism will be "intensified".

The decision to shut down the Cheikh Yassine Collective, which is named after the founder of Hamas, will be taken at a Wednesday's cabinet meeting, Macron told an audience during a speech after a meeting with a unit for the fight against Islamism, in the north-eastern Paris suburb of Bobigny.

The French group was created by Abdelhakim Sefrioui, a radical Islamist activist who is now in police custody as part of the investigation into Friday’s attack.

Sefrioui is the author of one of the videos in which the father of a girl in the school accused Paty of having insulted Islam and called him a “thug”, according to France24.

Paty had shown his pupils cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in a civics class on freedom of expression earlier this month.

The 47-year-old 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.

A photo of the teacher and a message confessing to his murder was found on the mobile phone of his killer, Abdullakh Anzorov, who arrived in France with his family from the predominantly Muslim Russian region of Chechnya more than a decade ago.

In the days after the beheading, French authorities have detained dozens of people, including four members of the killer's family.

Macron said on Tuesday that "actions will be stepped up" against Islamist extremism.

"This is not about making more statements. Our fellow citizens expect actions. These actions will be stepped up."

"We know what needs to be done," the French leader told reporters.

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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