Mohamed Mogouchkov, a Chechen refugee aged 19, is said to have murdered Dominique Bernard, a French literature teacher in his 40s at the Gambetta high school in Arras at 11am local time.
At least two other people were wounded, including a security agent who was stabbed multiple times and a teacher who is in a less serious condition, a source added. No pupil at the school was hurt.
Both Mogouchkov and his brother, who was also taken into custody, were known to the authorities and were on the national security watchlist, police said.
The attack comes on the day leaders of Hamas, the Palestinian militant group behind ruthless attacks in Israel, called on Muslims across the world to demonstrate on the ‘day of Jihad’.
Police have not confirmed whether the attack in Arras was linked to this call-to-arms.
Mogouchkov’s brother is said to have spent 18 months in prison for distributing ISIS propaganda online, and Mogouchkov was also a known ISIS sympathiser, sources said.
A pupil is comforted by a relative as he leaves Gambetta high-school in Arras, where a teacher was killed and two others were severely wounded
A video shows a confrontation between two men in the school grounds
French President Emmanuel Macron, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin and officials arrive at the site
French President Emmanuel Macron arrives at the Gambetta high school in Arras
Police investigate following the stabbing at the school in Arras on Friday morning
Emergency services attend the scene of the fatal attack which took place around 11am local time (10am GMT) at the Gambetta high school in the city of Arras
Sliman Hamzi, a police officer who was one of the first on the scene said Mogouchkov, a former pupil at the school, shouted: ‘Allahu Akbar’ – ‘God is great’ in Arabic.
Mr Hamzi said he was alerted by another officer who was passing in front of the high school and called in. He ‘was shouting: ‘Someone is attacking with a knife,” Mr Hamzi said.
‘Colleagues arrived quickly but unfortunately couldn’t save the victim,’ Mr Hamzi said.
French President Emmanuel Macron is now making his way to visit the scene.
Fabien Dufay, a PE teacher at the school said he had taught Mogouchkov in his final year ‘three years ago’.
He described him as a ‘reserved, calm student with whom I had completely normal conversations.’
The attacker ‘had two knives in his hands,’ says another teacher at the school, who asked not to be named.
‘He turned to me and said, ‘Are you a history teacher? Are you a history teacher?’,’ said the teacher, who then hid behind a glass door.
He added: ‘It was only when I left that I was able to see that the attack was much more serious than I thought. Someone was dead in front of the school.’
Clips of what appear to be the attack circulated by students on social media show how a man appears to lunge at victims in the courtyard.
One of the victims holds a chair between himself and the attacker to defend himself but is ultimately bundled to the ground and sustains several blows.
Students meanwhile barricaded themselves in classrooms and were told to remain inside.
The attack in Arras comes almost three years to the day after the murder of Paty, also by a Chechen extremist, which took place on October 16, 2020.
It also comes with tensions rising in France, which has large Jewish and Muslim communities, after last weekend’s attack by Hamas on Israel.
President Emmanuel Macron said in an address to the nation on Thursday that 582 religious and cultural facilities in France were receiving stepped-up police protection.
‘Those who confuse the Palestinian cause and the justification of terrorism commit a strong moral, political and strategic error,’ he said.
His office said he would head to the scene in Arras.
There has also been controversy over the French government’s ban on pro-Palestinian protests following the Hamas attack, with the left lamenting it was no longer possible to protest for peace but the right saying the measures did not go far enough.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin on Thursday ordered that the demonstrations be prohibited nationwide as they ‘are likely to generate disturbances to public order,’ adding that organisers should face arrest.
This is the latest incidence of what appears to be a growing problem of knife violence in France.
In June this year, a knifeman stabbed four children at a lakeside park in the French Alps, assaulting at least one in a stroller repeatedly.
The attacker, a 31-year-old Christian Syrian refugee with permanent Swedish residency, mentioned his daughter, his wife and Jesus Christ during the attack in the lakeside town of Annecy.
The stabbing follows a series of bomb, gun and knife attacks carried out by Islamic State and al-Qaeda operatives in France, dating back to early 2015.
The deadliest single terrorist attack ever in the country came in November 2015 when 130 people were killed in Paris after suicide bombers pledging allegiance to ISIS targeted the Stade de France, cafes, restaurants and the Bataclan music venue, where 90 died.
French police officers from the forensic service stand in front of the Gambetta high school in Arras
French police and fire fighters secure the area after a teacher was killed and several people injured in a knife attack at the Lycee Gambetta-Carnot high school in Arras, northern France
People stand near the Lycee Gambetta-Carnot high school after a teacher was killed and several people injured in a knife attack in Arras, northern France, October 13, 2023
French police officers from the forensic service stand in front of the Gambetta high school
Earlier in the year, two Paris-born gunmen linked to Al-Qaeda broke into the offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine, leaving 17 people dead inside and three outside.
In July 2016, 86 people were called and more than 400 injured when a 19 tonne truck was deliberately driven into crowds on the seafront promenade in the southern city of Nice.
The terrorist turned out to be a Tunisian immigrant who was shot dead by police.
During the same month, two Isis terrorists murdered an 86-year-old Catholic priest during a church service in Normandy.
And in October 2020, three people were stabbed to death by a Tunisian immigrant in the Notre Dame basilica in Nice.
There have also been frequent knife attacks on the forces of law and order, leading to the deaths of serving police.
https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-12627071/Several-people-wounded-knife-attack-northern-France.html?ns_mchannel=rss&ns_campaign=1490&ito=1490 Knifeman, 19, who stabbed teacher to death and wounded two others as he yelled ‘Allahu Akhbar’ at French school on ‘day of jihad’ is Chechen refugee ISIS supporter on terror suspect list