France bans Islamist group after killing of teacher - government spokesman

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PARIS (Reuters) - France will ban an Islamist group named after the late Sheikh Yassin as part of a crackdown on militants following the murder of a French schoolteacher last week, government spokesman Gabriel Attal said on Wednesday.

Samuel Paty was beheaded on Oct. 16 by an 18-year-old of Chechen origin seeking to avenge his victim's use of caricatures of the Prophet Mohammad in a class on freedom of expression. Police shot the attacker dead.

"This is a battle over security, culture and education," Attal said.

The banned group is named after Sheikh Yassin, a Palestinian Muslim leader and co-founder of the Hamas movement, who was assassinated in 2004. Hamas has denied any links with the French group.

(Reporting by Dominique Vidalon; Editing by Gareth Jones)