French President Emmanuel Macron’s office announced last Saturday that it would mobilize as many as 7,000 soldiers to bolster security in the country after a suspected terrorist fatally stabbed a teacher and wounded three others, the Associated Press reported.
The Gambetta-Cornot school in Arras reopened last Saturday morning after the knife attack on October 13 that killed French language teacher Dominique Bernard.
According to prosecutors, the attack is under investigation by counterterrorism authorities, and the suspect, along with several others, is in custody.
After the attack, the French government increased the national threat alert to “attack emergency” and ordered 7,000 soldiers to be deployed throughout the country by Monday. According to President Macron’s office, the soldiers will remain in place to boost security and vigilance until further notice.
The “attack emergency” level allows the French government to temporarily mobilize military troops in France.
According to court documents, the suspect, who was initially believed to be Chechan, is actually from Ingushetia, a region of Russia in the Caucasus Mountains neighboring Chechnya.
Investigators are still determining the motive behind the attack, however, the suspect is reportedly refusing to cooperate.
French intelligence services told the Associated Press that the suspect had been under surveillance since the summer over suspected Islamic radicalization. He had been detained the day before the attack and questioned over phone calls he made in recent days, but investigators found no indication that he was planning an attack, according to Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin.
Darmanin said French intelligence suggested that the suspect could have been motivated by Israel’s war against Hamas. He said since the October 7 terror attacks by Hamas, French authorities have detained twelve individuals found near places of worship and schools, some of whom were armed.
According to the prosecutor, the suspect, who was a former student at Gambetta-Cornot school, repeatedly shouted “Allahu akbar” during the attack. Prosecutors are considering a terror-related murder charge as well as charges of attempted murder.