A SUSPECT shot dead by police after the beheading of a history teacher near Paris was an 18-year-old Chechen, French police said.

Authorities investigating the horrific killing of the man in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine have also arrested nine suspects, including the grandparents, parents and 17-year-old brother of the suspected attacker.

The teacher had discussed caricatures of Islam's Prophet Muhammad with his class, authorities said.

Chechnya is a predominantly Muslim Russian republic in the North Caucasus. Two wars in the 1990s triggered a wave of emigration, with many Chechens heading for western Europe.

France has seen occasional violence involving its Chechen community in recent months, believed to be linked to local criminal activity and score-settling.

A police official said the suspect in Friday's attack north of the capital was shot dead about 600 yards from where the teacher was killed after he failed to respond to orders to put down his weapons and acted in a threatening manner.