It was also reported that the teacher had been the target of online threats for showing students cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad in class.
The father of a schoolgirl had called for the dismissal of 47-year-old teacher Samuel Paty and launched an online call for “mobilization” against him after the free speech class, said French counterterrorism prosecutor Jean- François Ricard during a televised press conference. .
Paty was beheaded outside his school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, north-west of the capital, and the killer was fatally injured by police.
Ricard identified the attacker as Abdullakh A., an 18-year-old Chechen with refugee status in France.
Nine people, including the schoolgirl’s father, have so far been arrested.
Ricard said the school received threats after class in early October, which featured the controversial cartoons – one of the prophets naked – with the girl’s father accusing Paty of spreading “pornography.”
The girl and her father filed a criminal complaint against the teacher, who in turn filed a libel complaint.
The aggrieved father named Paty and gave the school’s address in a social media post just days before the beheading, which President Emmanuel Macron called an Islamist terrorist attack.
Ricard did not say whether the attacker had any ties to the school, students or parents, or whether he acted independently in response to the online campaign.
Witnesses said he was seen at school on Friday afternoon asking students where he could find Paty.
The prosecutor said the attacker was armed with a knife, an air rifle and five rounds. He had fired shots at the police and attempted to stab them as they approached him. He was shot nine times.
The assailant himself was not known to the French intelligence services, the prosecutor said.
An investigation is underway for “murder linked to a terrorist organization”.
On Saturday, hundreds of students, teachers and parents invaded Paty’s school to cry and lay white roses.
Some carried signs saying “I am a teacher” and “I am Samuel” – echoing the cry “I am Charlie” that traveled the world after the Charlie Hebdo murders in 2015.
According to parents and teachers, Paty gave Muslim children the opportunity to leave the classroom before showing the cartoons, saying he didn’t want their feelings hurt.
It was the second such attack since a trial began last month after the January 2015 massacre at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which had published cartoons of the prophet that sparked anger. in the Islamic world.
(with contributions from AFP)