• A man behind the attack had contact with a Russian-speaking radical in Syria
  • French authorities have charged seven people so far in the case
  • Some of the suspects were paid just hundreds to help the killer identify the victim

The 18-year-old man who beheaded a French school teacher in a Parisian suburb had ties to Islamic radicals in Syria, reports Thursday revealed.

Seven people, including two teens, paid hundreds of dollars to help identify the victim, were charged in the Friday murder of Samuel Paty.

An 18-year-old Chechen, Abdullakh Anzorov, was shot fatally by police shortly after the beheading. Before the attack, the 47-year-old Paty was vilified on social media for showing images of the Islamic prophet Mohammad in a way that’s considered insulting by some members of the faith.

Sources close to the domestic terrorism investigation in France told Agence France Presse that Anzorov was in contact with a Russian-speaking radical in Idlib, Syria, a hot-bed for groups such as regional al-Qaida affiliates. The Syrian connection was established by tracking an IP address.

A message recorded in Russian after the killing, translated by AFP, has Anzarov saying he “avenged the prophet.”

"Brothers, pray that Allah accepts me as a martyr,” it adds.

French anti-terrorism investigators unveiled the seven charges on Wednesday, saying there was a “direct causal link” between the online hate campaign and the school teacher’s death. Among those arrested was a parent of one of Paty’s students and Abdelkahim Sefrioui, an activist preacher who has been on the radar of French intelligence services for years.

French President Emmanuel Macron on Wednesday commemorated the French history teacher as a hero.

“He was killed precisely because he incarnated the Republic,” a visibly emotional Macron said. “He was killed because the Islamists want our future. They know that with quiet heroes like him, they will never have it.”