French police raid houses with terror links after Paris beheading

Interior minister Gerald Damanin said the government wanted to send a message to extremists

Powered by automated translation

French police have raided a series of homes suspected of housing people with links to extremist networks as authorities vowed to clamp down on radicals.

Days after a teacher who had shown pupils a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed was beheaded in Paris, dozens of individuals were being targeted, interior minister Gerald Darmanin said, while charities and NGOs with alleged  extremist ties will also be probed.

While the raids were "not necessarily linked" to last week’s killing, the government wanted to send a message that there would be "not a minute's respite for enemies of the Republic,” Mr Darmanin said.

"Fear is about to change sides," President Emmanuel Macron told a meeting of key ministers on Sunday to discuss a response to the attack. "Islamists should not be allowed sleep soundly in our country.”

On Sunday, tens of thousands took to the streets for nationwide rallies commemorating the life of 47-year-old history teacher Samuel Paty.

He was attacked on his way home from the junior high school where he taught in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, 40 kilometres (25 miles) north-west of Paris.

A photo of the teacher and a message confessing to his murder was found on the mobile phone of his killer, an 18-year-old Chechen man Abdullakh Anzorov, who was shot dead by police.

Eleven people are being held over the murder, including a known radical and the father of one of Paty's pupils, who had launched an online campaign against the teacher.

The killing has sent shockwaves throughout France and drawn parallels with the 2015 massacre at Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine, where 12 people, including cartoonists, were gunned down for publishing cartoons mocking Prophet Mohammed.