JANESVILLE, Wisc. — President Trump offered condolences to French President Emmanuel Macron on Saturday night over the grisly suspected terrorist attack on a teacher who was beheaded near Paris.
“On behalf of the United States, I’d like to extend my sincere really sincere condolences to a friend of mine. President Macron of France, where they had just yesterday a vicious Islamic terrorist attack,” Mr. Trump said at a campaign rally here.
He called it “a horrible thing.”
“We’ve been very very strong on radical Islamic terrorism,” Mr. Trump said, noting his ban on migrants from several predominantly Muslim countries. “France is having a hard time. Macron is a great guy, and I just want to say —whatever we can do.”
The suspect shot dead by police in France after the beheading of the history teacher near Paris was an 18-year-old Chechen refugee, authorities said Saturday.
France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office said authorities investigating the killing of Samuel Paty on Friday arrested nine suspects, including the teen’s grandfather, parents and 17-year-old brother.
Paty had discussed caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad with his class, leading to threats, police officials said. Islam prohibits images of the prophet, asserting that they lead to idolatry. The officials could not be named because they were not authorized to discuss ongoing investigations.
French anti-terrorism prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard said an investigation for murder with a suspected terrorist motive had been opened.
Mr. Ricard told reporters that the Moscow-born suspect, who had been granted a 10-year residency in France as a refugee in March, was armed with a knife and an airsoft gun, which fires plastic pellets.
His half-sister joined the Islamic State group in Syria in 2014, Mr. Ricard said.
The prosecutor said a text claiming responsibility and a photograph of the victim were found on the suspect’s phone. He also confirmed that a Twitter account under the name Abdoulakh A belonged to the suspect. It posted a photo of the decapitated head minutes after the attack along with the message “I have executed one of the dogs from hell who dared to put Muhammad down.”
Mr. Macron went to the school on Friday night to denounce what he called an “Islamist terrorist attack.” He urged the nation to stand united against extremism.
“One of our compatriots was murdered today because he taught … the freedom of expression, the freedom to believe or not believe,” Mr. Macron said.
— This article is based in part on wire-service reports. Dave Boyer reported from Washington.