Terrorist attack at French church leaves 3 dead, alert level raised to maximum
The French government has raised its national security alert system to its highest level after killing three people in a knife attack in the city of Nice, with several others injured.
Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi described the attack as a “terrorist attack at the heart of the Notre-Dame basilica”.
He also asked the people of Nice to avoid the area to let the police and the emergency services work.
One elderly victim who had come to pray was “virtually beheaded”. A suspect was shot and detained shortly afterward.
Two of the victims are believed to have died in the church while another escaped but later succumbed to injuries, according to French broadcaster Europe 1.
Speaking to reporters, the mayor said the man suspected of carrying out the attack had been shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) after his arrest. He added that French President Emmanuel Macron would be arriving in the city.
Anti-terror prosecutors have opened a murder inquiry and France raised its national security alert system to its highest level.
The last attack follows the murder of teacher Samuel Paty, who was also beheaded close to his school outside Paris earlier this month.
It also follows days of protests in some Muslim-majority countries triggered by President Macron’s defense of the publication of cartoons that depicted the Prophet Muhammed amid calls in some countries for a boycott of French goods.
Meanwhile, two further attacks took place on Thursday morning, one in France and one in Saudi Arabia.
A man was shot dead in Montfavet near Avignon after threatening police with a handgun. And a guard was attacked outside the French consulate in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. A suspect has been arrested, meanwhile, the guard taken to hospital.