Paris School Teacher Lied About ISIS Attack, French Prosecutors Say

Police officers patrol near a Paris suburb Aubervilliers pre-school, after a masked assailant with a box-cutter and scissors who mentioned the Islamic State group attacked a teacher, Monday, Dec.14, 2015. The assailant remains at large, and the motive for the attack in the town of Aubervilliers is unclear, authorities said. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

Police officers patrol near a Paris suburb Aubervilliers pre-school, after a masked assailant with a box-cutter and scissors who mentioned the Islamic State group attacked a teacher, Monday, Dec.14, 2015. The assailant remains at large, and the motive for the attack in the town of Aubervilliers is unclear, authorities said. (AP Photo/Michel Euler)

French authorities discovered Monday that an account given by a Paris-area preschool teacher saying he had been attacked by the terror organization known as the Islamic State group was a hoax. Revelation of the teacher’s false account came hours after the minister of education began making plans to beef up security at French schools.

The unnamed preschool teacher in Aubervilliers, north of Paris, claimed he was preparing for the day’s work in his classroom when he was approached by a man wearing a balaclava, or full-face covering, and gloves. He said his attacker cut him and tried to slit his throat with a box cutter or a pair of scissors while shouting, “This is for Daesh,” French newspaper Le Monde reported. Daesh is another name for the Islamic State group, aka ISIS.

The teacher was recovering from minor wounds to his face and neck in a local hospital, the New York Times reported Monday, but he admitted the story was fake. It’s unclear what caused his injuries. French authorities had not yet given a suspected motive for the teacher’s tale. “He is being interviewed with a view to establishing the reasons for this invented story,” one official told Reuters.

Education Minister Najat Vallaud-Belkacem had initially reacted to news of the attack by closing the preschool for the day and promising to bolster security at French schools. Vallaud-Belkacem did not immediately respond to the development that the entire episode had been a lie.

The false attack came as the entire country was still on high alert following a spate of deadly terror attacks in Paris Nov. 13. The coordinated assault, carried out by ISIS militants, targeted bars, cafes and other scenes of Parisian nightlife, leaving 130 dead.

France remains in a state of emergency, with increased police patrols as well as a surge in the number of raids and arrests in searching for Islamic terrorism. Patrols near schools have been increased, particularly after an issue of ISIS’ French-language magazine encouraged supporters to kill French teachers.

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