French President Emmanuel Macron promised on Tuesday to intensify a clampdown on Islamist extremism in France days after the country was stunned by the beheading of a history teacher in a quiet Paris suburb.
Police have carried out dozens of raids and the government has ordered the six-month closure of a mosque and plans to dissolve a group that supports Palestinian militant group Hamas.
"Our fellow citizens expect actions," Macron said during a visit to a Paris suburb. "These actions will be stepped up."
Samuel Paty, a 47-year-old teacher, was attacked on Friday on his way home from the junior high school where he taught in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, 40 kilometres (25 miles) northwest of Paris.
He had been the subject of an online hate campaign since showing pupils cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed during class on free speech -- the same images that sparked a bloody assault on the officials of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo when they were originally published five years ago.
Police are holding 10 people over the killing, including five schoolchildren suspected of having identified Paty to the killer in return for money, and a disgruntled parent who had organised the online campaign against Paty.
Six people were freed on Tuesday evening, among them four members of the family of killer Abdullakh Anzorov -- an 18-year-old originally from the Russian region of Chechnya.
Anzorov was shot dead by police shortly after he killed the teacher.
The disgruntled parent had fired up anger about Paty's lesson through messages on social media, and had exchanged messages on WhatsApp with Anzorov in the days leading up to the murder.
The material he uploaded was widely shared, including by a mosque in the northern Paris suburb of Pantin.
The head of the mosque, M'hammed Henniche, said he had shared the video out of fear that Muslim children were being singled out in class.
But the government has now earmarked his mosque for a six-month closure -- one of its most significant moves after days of raids and tough rhetoric.
Macron said a pro-Hamas group called the Cheikh Yassine Collective would be dissolved for being "directly implicated" in the murder, adding that a formal decision would be taken at a cabinet meeting on Wednesday.
The group's founder, Islamist radical Abdelhakim Sefrioui, is being held by police for publishing a video on YouTube insulting Paty.
Macron has also added an international dimention to his anti-extremism efforts, asking Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin for strengthened cooperation in the fight against terrorism during a phone call on Tuesday.
Russia has played down any association with the killer, saying Anzorov had never been in contact with their officials and had left the country more than a decade ago.
Paty's beheading was the second knife attack claimed in the name of avenging the Prophet Mohammed since a trial started last month over the Charlie Hebdo killings in 2015 when 12 people, including cartoonists, were gunned down for publishing Mohammed cartoons.
The role of social-media platforms has once again come under the spotlight after much of the anger against Paty was whipped up on Facebook.
Paty's teaching colleagues said in a statement they were deeply concerned about the impact of social networks, which they called "a real scourge" for their profession.
The government has promised to create a new criminal offence that would punish anyone who endangers another person by publishing their details online, and ministers held talks with the French bosses of social networks on Tuesday to discuss the fight against "cyber-Islamism".
The killing has prompted an outpouring of emotion and solidarity in France, with tens of thousands taking part in rallies over the weekend across the country.
Parliament observed a minute of silence on Tuesday and thousands gathered for a silent march in the teacher's honour in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine in the evening.
The next edition of Charlie Hebdo, meanwhile, will feature the headline "The decapitated Republic" on its front page along with cartoons representing various professions, the weekly said Tuesday.
"These murderers want to decapitate democracy itself," reads the editorial to be published Wednesday.
Copyright AFP. All rights reserved.