French police have conducted a series of raids targeting extremist networks, three days after the beheading of a history teacher who had shown his pupils a cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed.
Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin vowed there would be not a minute's respite for enemies of the Republic, after tens of thousands took part in rallies countrywide on Sunday to honor teacher Samuel Paty and defend freedom of expression.
A silent rally was planned for Tuesday evening, as well as a ceremony on Wednesday at the Sorbonne attended by President Emmanuel Macron.
Fifteen people have been detained so far, including four pupils who may have helped the killer – an 18-year-old of Chechen origin who was killed by police – to identify the teacher in return for payment.
Law enforcement carried out 40 raids on Monday, mostly around Paris, with many more planned.
We want to harass and destabilize this movement in a very determined way, one ministry source said.
Darmanin said the government would also tighten its grip on institutions and charities with suspected links to extremist networks.
Paty, 47, was attacked on his way home from the junior high school where he taught in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, 40km northwest of Paris.
A witness, who gave only his first name Stephane to news channel LCI, said he was nearby when the barbaric attack happened, sheltering with his children.
We did not know what is going on. There was just a beheaded man in front of our house, he said, adding he then saw the assailant take pictures.
A photo of the teacher and a message confessing to his murder was found on the mobile phone of his killer, Abdullakh Anzorov, who arrived in France with his family from the predominantly Muslim Russian region of Chechnya more than a decade ago.
Four members of the killer's family were among those detained.
Officials named two groups they would target for closure – the Collective Against Islamophobia in France that says it monitors attacks against Muslims, and BarakaCity, which describes itself as a humanitarian organization.
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