A note from territorial intelligence had in particular raised the tensions within the college of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine (Yvelines), due to a civic education course by Samuel Paty on freedom of expression.
How a controversy created around a civic education course could she have taken such a tragic turn? Investigators are currently seeking to reconstruct the thread of events who brought Abdullakh Anzorov, an 18-year-old Chechen Russian to behead Samuel Paty, history-geography teacher in a college deemed calm at Conflans-Sainte-Honorine (Yvelines).
As with every attack, all eyes are on the intelligence services. If zero risk does not exist, this new act of terrorism could lead the authorities to better deal with the indirect threats that regularly flourish on social networks.
An intelligence note had signaled tensions at the college
The intelligence services were aware of the tensions that had arisen in recent days between some parents of students and the educational community of the college du Bois de l’Aulne where Samuel Paty taught. A handwritten note from the Yvelines territorial intelligence department was sent on October 12 to the Paris intelligence department.
According to information from France Télévisions, the note indicates strong tensions, but specifies that they were managed by the principal of the college. After a detailed calendar of events, between filing a complaint and posting videos on social networks by parents of students, the note ends with these words: “The tension has eased and the situation is calmer”.
“This note does not minimize the facts and the chain that took place”, assured on franceinfo Laurent Nowñthis, Sunday. The National Intelligence and Counterterrorism Coordinator indicates that this note, “usual intelligence services”, show that “devices have been put in place”, in particular with the intervention of teams “Values of the Republic” at college. “A dialogue was established and the situation calmed down, except with a parent of a student obviously”, assures Laurent Nuñthis.
Viral videos targeted Samuel Paty, questioning ‘indirect threat’
If the note evokes a return to calm between the educational community and the parents of pupils, it does not identify the tension coming from social networks. “One of the parents of the students persisted, moreover he refused to meet the educational community, details Laurent Nuñez. He continued to post videos, which are believed to have led, inspired the author of the act. ” By posting several videos, calling for mobilization against the professor and giving the name of the teacher as well as the address of the college on social networks, this father is suspected by the courts of having created a favorable climate to a passage to the act.
“There was a lot of tension on social media”, testifies Nordine, a parent of a student. Videos are widely distributed on all platforms. “Everyone received this video via social media over and over again for several days.”, testifies in The world Manelle, a 14-year-old schoolgirl. “I was sent the video from Algeria! also confides to the daily Linda, a mother of a student who has received the video at least ten times. But how did she get there to come back here? “
In this context, Samuel Paty was under pressure. The teacher “knew he was threatened with death on social networks” following his course, assures the Parisian a member of an association of parents of college students. Should he have benefited from police protection? Laurent Nudeñez recalls that he “there was no direct threat of death”. On the other hand, the counterterrorism coordinator admits on franceinfo that this situation begs the question: “The fact of publicizing the controversy as did a parent of a student and feeding the name of the teacher to social networks constitutes an indirect threat.”
“There are more insidious situations (…) We must better understand, better identify these indirect threats”, continues Laurent Nuñez. In an interview with JDD, Prime Minister Jean Castex also announces that he is working “an even stronger, faster and more effective response strategy when a teacher is threatened”. He announces “concrete acts” quickly.
Intelligence knew that an S file had intervened but it was not a “direct threat”
The territorial intelligence note also mentions the intervention d’Abdelhakim Sifraoui, figure of radical Islam and registered S for several years. The man is also currently in custody, with the father behind the videos. Abdelhakim Sifraoui accompanied the parent of the student at the origin of the virulent mobilization during a meeting with the principal of the college. This old acquaintance with French anti-terrorism also appeared in a video where he introduced himself as “member of the Council of Imams of France”. He declares that“Emmanuel Macron has stirred up hatred against Muslims” and that the teacher “is a thug”.
Abdelhakim Sefrioui, member of the council of imams of France participated in this fatwa against the professor #SamuelPaty
as well as the Great Mosque of Pantin which relayed it.
I hope that their responsibility will be engaged. pic.twitter.com/AYccj4vUm8
– Waleed Al-husseini (@W_Alhusseini) October 17, 2020
But did the intelligence services have the means to intervene? Abdelhakim Sefrioui “was not the bearer of direct threat” against the professor, estimated on franceinfo Laurent Nuñez, without giving the name of the preacher. If he had made a direct threat, “the intelligence services would have taken his case to court”, he assures. “In the videos that were released, there was no direct threat.”
The attacker was not known to intelligence but his Twitter account had been reported
There remains the profile of the assailant, Abdoullakh Anzorov, who went under the antiterrorism radar. The Attorney General of the National Anti-Terrorism Prosecutor’s Office has recalled Saturday that he was not known to the intelligence services. “Legal investigations often show that they are radicalized very quickly, added Laurent Nuñez on franceinfo. They have no contact with individuals present in Syria, Iraq, with the Islamic State… They have no contact, so they are almost undetectable. ” The counterterrorism coordinator also recalled that there was “more than 20,000 forms for radicalization, including a little more than 8,000 which are still active”, and “we know more and more individuals”.
According to the revelations of Mediapart, Abdoullakh Anzorov had however let show his radicalization on his Twitter account @ Tchetchene_270, closed since. It was on this account that the terrorist posted the photo of the beheaded professor shortly after the assassination. But Internet users had spotted the account as early as August 30 because of a photomontage featuring a beheading. According to Mediapart, several Pharos reports (for “Platform for harmonization, analysis, cross-checking and orientation of reports”) had been made in recent months. Still according to the investigation site, the examination of a few tweets, as well as of the subscribers and friends of the Twitter account made it possible to draw the portrait of a man very anchored in religion, “and probably in jihad”.