Two Muslim women were ‘stabbed repeatedly’ under the Eiffel Tower amid rising tensions in Paris after the beheading of a teacher last week.
French police have arrested two female suspects following the suspected racist attacks, which were allegedly accompanied by the words ‘Dirty Arabs’.
Those in custody are described as being white women of ‘European appearance’, who now face ‘attempted murder’ charges, said city prosecutors.
It follows the gruesome killing of 47-year-old teacher Samuel Paty last Friday by a refugee Islamist terrorist after cartoons lampooning the Prophet Mohammed were shown to a secondary school class on freedom of speech.
President Emmanuel Macron is working on a bill to address Islamic radicals, who authorities claim are creating a parallel society outside French values.
But members of France’s five million plus Muslim community have complained of ‘Islamophobia’ caused by a clampdown on mosques and Muslim organisations.
The victims of the attacks have been identified as French women from an Algerian background named only as Kenza, 49, and Amel, who is a few years younger.
French police have arrested two female suspects following the suspected racist attacks, which were allegedly accompanied by the words ‘Dirty Arabs’
Teacher Samuel Paty (left) was beheaded in the Paris suburbs on Friday after he shared cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed in class, leading Brahim Chinina (right), the father of a girl in his class, to issue what France’s interior minister called a ‘fatwa’ against him
Demonstrators gathered in several French cities to support freedom of speech after history teacher Samuel Paty was brutally murdered by an Islamic extremist for showing his class caricatures of the Prophet Mohammed. Pictured: Several people held signs reading ‘Je suis Prof, Je suis Samuel’ (meaning ‘I am a teacher, I am Samuel) to echo the ‘I am Charlie’ rallying cry after the 2015 attack on satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo
Kenza was stabbed six times and ended up in hospital with a punctured lung, while surgery was carried out on one of Amel’s hands, said an investigating source.
No information was initially released about the attack on, leading to uproar on social media, where confirmed images from the scene circulated.
A chilling video records screaming as the stabbings are carried out on Sunday evening. Police confirmed the incident had taken place last night.
A statement from Paris Police read: ‘On October 18, at around 8pm, the police intervened following an emergency call from two women wounded by knives on the Champs-de-Mars’ – the Field of Mars by the Eiffel Tower.
A source at the Paris prosecutors’ office confirmed on Wednesday: ‘An investigation for attempted murder has been opened in connection with the stabbings.’
One of the victims wore a face covering, but it was not clear whether this was because of the Covid-19 pandemic, or for cultural or religious reasons.
Emmanuel Macron closes Paris mosque in crackdown on Muslim hate preachers after French teacher is beheaded for showing class Prophet cartoons
France ordered the temporary closure of a mosque outside Paris on Tuesday, part of a crackdown on Muslims who incite hatred after the decapitation of a teacher who showed his class caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad.
The Grand Mosque of Pantin, a low-income suburb on the capital’s northeastern outskirts, had shared a video on its Facebook page before the attack that vented hatred against history teacher Samuel Paty.
Police plastered notices of the closure order outside the mosque as the authorities promised a tough response against the disseminators of hate messages, preachers of radicalized sermons and foreigners believed to pose a security threat to France.
The six-month order was “for the sole purpose of preventing acts of terrorism,” the notice issued by the head of the Seine-Saint-Denis department read.
The beheading of a public servant by a suspected Islamist for his use of religious satire to explore with students the debate surrounding freedom of expression, a deeply cherished tenet of democracy in secular France, has convulsed the country and shocked the world.
President Emmanuel Macron is increasingly concerned by what he calls Islamist separatism: the attempt by hostile elements within France’s large Muslim community to impose conservative Islamic beliefs over the traditional values of the French Republic in some communities.
Kenza told Liberation newspaper: ‘We were a family, five adults in all and four children. We had gone out for a walk. At the level of the Eiffel Tower there is a small rather dark park, we took a little tour in it.
‘As we walked, there were two dogs that come towards us. The children got scared. My cousin, who was veiled, asked the two women if it was possible to keep their dogs with them because the children were afraid.’
The dog owners refused to put their animals on a leash, and a furious argument followed – one that included racist insults.
At around 8pm, the two women with the dogs then allegedly pulled out a knife, and launched themselves at Kenza and Amel.
‘One of the two took out a knife, she slashed me on the skull, on the back on the ribs and there was a third blow on the arm,’ said Kenza. ‘They then attacked my cousin.’
Witnesses say they heard smears including ‘Dirty Arab!’ and ‘Go home to your own country’. ‘Call the emergency services, she stabbed him,’ was also heard.
Two local shop workers then intervened and held one of the attackers down until the police arrived. The second suspect was arrested later.
Details about the stabbings come as President Emmanuel Macron prepares to lead a National Hommage to Mr Paty, who was stabbed to death by 18-year-old Russia-born killer Abdullakh Anzarov.
The beheading happened outside the Bois-d’Aulne school in Conflans-Saint-Honorine, north of Paris, where Paty taught French and Geography.
Chechen jihadist Anzorov was in contact with the father of a girl in Mr Paty’s class who had mobilised a campaign against him over the cartoons, police sources said.
The father, Brahim Chnina, is in custody after France’s interior minister accused him of launching a ‘fatwa’ against Paty who was killed in the Paris suburbs on Friday.
Chnina had put his phone number on a Facebook post with a video calling for protests against Paty, and later published details of the teacher and his school.
The French government said it would honour Paty with a posthumous Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest order of merit.
But his killer is also being celebrated by ISIS terrorists who have produced horrifying propaganda using a photo of Paty’s severed head.
The images were taken by 18-year-old Anzorov after he murdered Paty and shortly before he was shot in the street by police.
The depraved image has featured in a magazine published in India, which says: ‘If your freedom of expression doesn’t stop you from criticising Prophet Mohammed then our swords will not stop defending the honour of Prophet Mohammed.’
Anzorov is believed to have shared the graphic images with fellow Russian-speaking jihadists before it was distributed among pro-ISIS accounts on Telegram.
A witness who saw Paty’s severed head described seeing Anzorov take pictures of it in the moments after the killing and before the terrorist was shot dead by police.
The murder has led to a renewed crackdown on extremism in France where ministers plan to shut down two Islamic organisations and a Paris mosque.
One imam apologised after his mosque shared details of Paty and his school on Facebook following a campaign by an outraged Muslim father.
‘Given what happened we regret having published it, said imam M’hammed Henniche, according to France Info.
‘We are currently seeing how in the future to take a step back before getting carried away on things like that.’
Armed police stand guard outside the secondary school where Samuel Paty taught, while mourners lay flowers at the scene alongside a placard declaring ‘Je suis Samuel’
Candles, flowers and tributes left for Paty last night in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, where he was killed, with one message saying: ‘Samuel is not a martyr (let’s leave that word to the fanatics)… Samuel is a hero of the Republic’
French far-right leader Marine Le Pen speaks to the media as she attends a vigil for Paty in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine on Monday evening
While ISIS has not claimed responsibility for Paty’s killing, the magazine has previously urged people to emulate the Charlie Hebdo attack in Paris which was also seen as revenge for blasphemy against Mohammed.
The Charlie Hebdo attackers were ‘leaving a clear path for others to follow’ because Western governments would not ‘carry out the punishment for the blasphemy prescribed by Islam’, the ISIS magazine said.
The 2015 killings were the first in a series of terror attacks which have rocked France in recent years, including Paty’s beheading last Friday.
According to the SITE Intelligence Group, a US-based monitor, supporters of al-Qaeda have also been ‘celebrating’ the attack and sharing graphic images online.
There have also been posts from ISIS and al-Qaeda supporters ‘claiming [the killer] will inspire other lone wolves’, according to SITE director Rita Katz.
Three feminists are arrested for pasting naked images of Mohammed on city centre walls in Toulouse
Three feminists were arrested in Toulouse on Monday after pasting naked images of Mohammed on walls in the city centre.
The caricatures were drawn by Charlie Hebdo cartoonist Stéphane Charbonnier who was killed in the 2015 terror attack at the satirical paper’s offices.
Armed with paintbrushes and glue, the trio said they wanted to put up a thousand of the posters to ‘inundate the centre of Toulouse’.
One of them said that ‘we have to go quickly because it remains a risky action, we are not there to give a press conference’.
‘A man was slaughtered in France for showing caricatures,’ she told a bystander.
However, within half an hour the three women were arrested for illegal fly-posting, according to 20 Minutes.
Meanwhile, Paris prosecutors said they had opened an investigation into a French neo-Nazi website hosted abroad that republished the photo of Paty’s corpse.
The teacher’s murder has led to renewed promises of action against Islamic extremists in France, with police conducting a series of raids on Monday.
Fifteen people have been detained so far, including four pupils who may have helped the killer to identify the teacher in return for money.
Law enforcement carried out 40 raids on Monday, mostly around Paris, with many more planned.
‘We want to harass and destabilise this movement in a very determined way,’ one government source said.
In addition, a 14-year-old French schoolboy has admitted identifying Paty to the terrorist who beheaded him after accepting the equivalent of €300 (£270) in cash.
The boy who accepted the money shared it among three friends, who are also all in custody. None of the children are thought to be Muslim and it is not suggested that they knew of Anzorov’s terrorist plans.
‘Anzarov said he simply wanted to film the teacher and ask him to apologise for showing the drawings to his class,’ said an investigating source.
Interior minister Gerald Darmanin vowed there would be ‘not a minute’s respite for enemies of the Republic’, after tens of thousands took part in nationwide rallies.
Darmanin said the government would also tighten its grip on institutions and charities with suspected links to Islamist networks.
Officials named two groups they would target for closure – the Collective Against Islamophobia in France that says it monitors attacks against Muslims, and BarakaCity, which describes itself as a humanitarian organisation.
In a social media post, BarakaCity accused Darmanin of ‘going mad’ and said he was taking advantage of a tragedy.
Darmanin also ordered the closure of a Paris mosque, accusing its imam of encouraging intimidation of the teacher and publicising the school’s address.
Paty, 47, was attacked on his way home from the secondary school where he taught in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, 25 miles from central Paris.
Anzorov was shot dead after refusing to put down his weapons in a dramatic stand-off with police soon after he murdered Paty.
Dramatic footage filmed from a nearby house shows the fatal stand-off between French police and the terrorist they shot dead last Friday after he beheaded a school teacher who showed cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed to his class
A witness, who gave only his first name Stephane to news channel LCI, said he was nearby when the ‘barbaric’ attack happened, sheltering with his children.
‘We did not know what is going on. There was just a beheaded man in front of our house,’ he said, adding he saw the assailant take pictures.
A photo of the teacher and a message confessing to his murder was later found on the Anzorov’s phone.
The terrorist had arrived in France with his family from the predominantly Muslim Russian region of Chechnya more than a decade ago.
Four members of the killer’s family were among those detained.
The people under investigation also include the father of a 13-year-old schoolgirl who was in Paty’s class when he showed the controversial images during a lesson about freedom of expression.
Paty had given Muslim children an opportunity to leave the classroom, but the lesson nonetheless led to uproar.
The father, Brahim Chnina, launched an online campaign against the teacher and has now been arrested along with a known Islamist radical.
Chnina he wanted the teacher removed and went to see the principal of the school to complain, prosecutors said.
That evening, he put out another Facebook video, giving the name of the teacher and identifying the school.
Speaking on Monday, Darmanin accused the pair of issuing a ‘fatwa’ against the teacher which the terrorist had acted upon.
Emotions were still running high outside Paty’s school on Monday, where Muslim leaders gathered to offer condolences and distance their religion from the atrocity.
‘It is very important to come here to show our sorrow, to show that what happened here is not Islam. It was done by thugs who have nothing to do with Islam,’ said Kemadou Gassama, an imam in Paris.