A HISTORY teacher who opened a discussion with students on caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Mohammed has been decapitated in a street near Paris, a police official said.

Officers shot the suspected killer dead and the French anti-terrorism prosecutor has opened an investigation.

The incident occurred near a school in the town of Eragny, in the Val d’Oise region north west of Paris at around 5pm local time.

A police official said the suspect, armed with a knife and a gun was shot about 600 metres from where the male teacher was killed after trying to flee the scene.

The teacher had been threatened after opening a discussion “for a debate” about the caricatures, the police official said.

The scene was sealed off by police as the investigation continued.

A source close to the police said witnesses had heard the attacker shout “Allah Akbar”, or “God is Great”.

Another source close to the police also said the victim had been decapitated in the attack.

The French newspaper Le Parisien has reported the victim was “horribly mutilated”.

The report also added the attacker was the parent of a student, but this has not yet been confirmed by police.

One witness told the Actu.fr news website in Ferance: “I was in my room and heard screaming outside.

“Someone was saying ‘Lay down on the floor, face down!’ They started shooting. There were several shots and I heard “individual neutralised”.

“When calm returned, I went out and saw the police running. They told me to go home. 

“Then more police cars came and they cordoned off the neighbourhood.”

One investigating source said: “The body of a decapitated man was found at around 5.30pm.

“When police arrived, the person thought to be responsible was still present and threatened them with his weapons.”

“He was waving a gun by this time and further threatened officers.

“This is when he was shot dead by police. Around 10 shots were heard.”

France’s interior minister Gerald Darmanin, who had been travelling to Morocco, is returning to France as a matter of urgency.

President Emmanuel Macron was due to visit the area following an emergency meeting at the interior ministry last night, local broadcasters reported.

French police have tweeted to urge members of the public to avoid the area.

They wrote: “Avoid the boulevard de la commune de Paris sector and the corner of Boulevard Salengro in Eragny sur Oise.”

During recent years, France has experienced a number of violent attacks carried out by Islamist militants.

It is the second terrorism-related incident since the opening of an ongoing trial on the newsroom massacre in January 2015 at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

Last month, a man who emigrated to France from Pakistan attacked and wounded two people using a meat cleaver outside the former offices of the magazine – the same location where Islamist militants shot dead employees of the publication in 2015. 

This had been in retribution for the magazine’s publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad.

Fourteen people suspected of involvement in the initial attack are currently on trial in Paris.

Those on trial range in age from 29 to 68, and are charged with providing logistics to the terrorists, including cash, weapons and vehicles.

Paris-born brothers Said and Cherif Kouachi murdered 12 people in the Charlie Hebdo offices using Kalashnikovs. They escaped initially but were later killed by police.

A third terrorist, Amedy Coulibaly, shot four shoppers in a kosher supermarket and a policewoman during three days of carnage before he too was killed.