World

Police: Paris Teacher Lied About 'Terrorist Attack,' Manhunt Suspended

| by Nik Bonopartis
The Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.The Eiffel Tower in Paris, France.

Police in Paris called off a manhunt after a nursery school teacher admitted he fabricated a story about an Islamic attacker stabbing him in the throat and stomach.

The teacher had several knife wounds, and was admitted to a Paris hospital with non-life-threatening injuries, but everything else about the attack appears to have been a lie, Paris authorities told CNN.

Initial reports said the teacher was in his classroom in the Paris suburb of Aubervilliers on Dec. 14 when a masked man ran into the room, yelled "It is for Daesh!" a reference to ISIS, and began stabbing the teacher with a box cutter and a pair of scissors, according to the Independent. The injured teacher told police his attacker escaped, prompting the manhunt.

Before the victim admitted he made up the story, some police expressed skepticism.

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"This method seems rather unusual for a terrorist group," Gregory Goupil from the Alliance police union told L'Express, speculating that it could have been "a completely independent individual who does not enjoy all of his mental faculties."

Later, while police interviewed him in the hospital, the teacher -- whose name hasn't been released by authorities -- admitted he fabricated the details of the attack and inflicted the wounds on himself.

What's still unclear is why the teacher invented the story, and why at least one other staff member at the school confirmed the tale. The 45-year-old teacher had been employed at the Aubervilliers school for 20 years, the Independent reported. No students were inside the classroom during the incident. An investigation is ongoing.

The teacher staged the "attack" exactly one month and one day after the deadly coordinated terrorist strikes on Nov. 13, which left 130 people dead and hundreds more injured.

ISIS claimed responsibility for that attack, and has said French schools are among possible targets of ISIS operations in the future, according to the Independent. That has prompted a new set of security protocols at Parisian schools, including mandates that all visitors should be identified, entrance doors should be locked during the school day, and parents dropping children off at school are not permitted to linger near entrances or gates.

Sources: The Independent (2), CNN, L'Express / Photo source: Wikimedia Commons