France bans Islamist group after killing of teacher: government spokesman

FILE PHOTO: French government's spokesman Gabriel Attal, wearing a protective face mask, leaves after speaking following the weekly cabinet meeting in Paris, France, September 9, 2020. REUTERS/Charles Platiau/Pool

PARIS (Reuters) - France will ban an Islamist group named after the late Sheikh Yassin as part of a crackdown on militants following the murder of a French schoolteacher last week, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Wednesday.

Samuel Paty was beheaded on Oct. 16 by an 18-year-old of Chechen origin seeking to avenge his victim’s use of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad in a class on freedom of expression. Police shot the attacker dead.

“This is a battle over security, culture and education,” Attal said.

The banned group is named after Sheikh Yassin, a Palestinian Muslim leader and co-founder of the Hamas movement, who was assassinated in 2004. Hamas has denied any links with the French group.

Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Gareth Jones