In France, the highest threat level applies because of the terrorist attack with a knife in the southern French coastal city of Nice, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced on Thursday afternoon. At least three people were killed in the attack.
Government leaders condemn attacks
The amendment offers the French government more options for taking security measures. President Emmanuel Macron will lead a meeting of the National Security Council on Friday. Security has already been increased at places of worship, according to the French Ministry of the Interior.
The attack took place around 9 a.m. on Thursday in and near a church in the French city of Nice. According to an insider at the police, one of the victims has been decapitated, but the authorities have not yet confirmed this. Six people were also said to have been injured. The suspect is still alive and has been taken to hospital.
In the French city of Avignon, two hours after the attack, police shot dead a man who had threatened passersby with a gun. It is still unclear whether this is also a terrorist attack, according to the French police.
German Chancellor Angela Merkel and Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte condemn the violence. Merkel said in a statement that her country is in solidarity with France. She said she was “deeply shocked” by the “brutal murders” at the prayer house. Conte said that “our values are stronger than fanaticism, hatred and terrorism”.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson reacts with horror to what he calls a “barbaric attack”, he tweets in both French and English.
“For the second time in a short time France is startled by a gruesome act of terrorism, this time in Nice”, tweeted Prime Minister Mark Rutte. “Our thoughts go out to the next of kin. And we say to the French people: you are not alone in the fight against extremism. The Netherlands is next to you.”
The Nice attack follows the murder of French teacher Samuel Paty, who was believed to have been beheaded by an extremist Islamist two weeks ago in Paris. Paty had shown a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad in a lesson on freedom of speech.
Whether there is a connection to the murder of Paty has not yet been established. It is also not certain whether this incident has anything to do with extremist Islamism. Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi said the attacker shouted “Allahu akbar” (“God is the greatest”) during the attack and his arrest and speaks of “Islamofascism”.
France has announced that it will tackle radical Islamist organizations after the murder of Paty. This is causing tensions between France and Islamic countries such as Egypt and Turkey.
Despite the conflict, the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs showed solidarity with the French. “We strongly condemn today’s attack and extend our condolences to the relatives of the victims.”