PARIS (AP) — Invoking the Islamic State group, a masked assailant attacked a preschool teacher Monday in a Paris suburb, slashing him with a box-cutter and scissors in his classroom before escaping. French anti-terrorism authorities began a manhunt.
The attack comes as France remains under a state of emergency after the Nov. 13 attacks in Paris by Islamic State-linked extremists that left 130 people dead and hundreds wounded. A few weeks later, IS urged its followers to attack teachers in France, saying the secular education system was poisoning young minds.
In the town of Aubervilliers on Monday, a man in a ski mask and gloves arrived at the Jean Perrin preschool before school began and attacked the teacher, said Philippe Galli, the top government official for the Seine-Saint-Denis region. No children were present, only the teacher and other staff members, he told reporters.
French media said the teacher did not suffer life-threatening injuries.
Aubervilliers, a northern suburb, is only 4 kilometers (2.5 miles) from the apartment where the suspected organizer of the Nov. 13 attacks was killed in a police raid.
Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem immediately visited the school Monday and promised to ensure security at all French schools.
“It’s an act of enormous gravity in a context in which schools feel threatened,” she said.
French schools have imposed strict security measures since attacks in January, with doors locked during the day, identity checks for visitors and periodic bag searches. Families dropping off or picking up children are not permitted to linger near schools’ entrances, and children are not allowed to wait in groups outside for the doors to open.
In the Nov. 30 edition of its propaganda magazine, IS issued a call to arms against French schools and criticized a secular charter that every French school must display and teach and which, in many schools, all families must sign.
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