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French police fatally shoot man after school teacher decapitated

Authorities describe killing of teacher who showed cartoons of Prophet Muhammad as 'murder linked to a terrorist organisation'
Local mayor says attack in Paris suburb was 'incredibly violent'
Local mayor says attack in Paris suburb was "incredibly violent" (AFP/File photo)

French police shot a man dead after he reportedly decapitated a middle-school teacher who had shown his students cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad.

French police fatally shot the alleged assailant after seeing him with a knife near the scene of the attack, the AFP news agency reported on Friday. 

The incident in the western Paris suburb of Conflans Saint-Honorine is being treated by prosecutors as a "murder linked to a terrorist organisation".

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Police urged Paris residents to avoid the area where the attack took place.

President Emmanuel Macron visited the scene late on Friday and said the killing bore the hallmarks of "an Islamist terrorist attack".

Local mayor Eragny Thibault Humbert described the attack as "incredibly violent" and lauded the police for moving quickly to "neutralise" the assailant. 

Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin cut short a visit to Morocco and returned to Paris late on Friday. Darmanin wrote on Twitter that he was following the incident through a crisis unit established in coordination with the country's president and prime minister.

Friday's incident follows a string of attacks by individuals linked to or inspired by the Islamic State (IS) group and al-Qaeda. 

Last month, an assailant stabbed two people outside the former offices of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical magazine that had published cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad. In 2015, al-Qaeda gunmen killed 12 people in an attack on the magazine's offices.