At least three people were killed in an attack with a knife at a church in the French city of Nice on Thursday, the French police confirm. A suspect has been shot and arrested. According to an insider at the police, a woman has been beheaded, but the authorities have not yet confirmed this. The mayor of Nice speaks of a terrorist act.
Suspect of attack in Nice quickly arrested
Follow our live blog with the latest updates here.
The attack took place around 9 a.m. on Thursday in and around Notre-Dame in Nice. The suspect is still alive and has been taken to hospital, Mayor Christian Estrosi said. Initiates speak of six injured, but authorities have not confirmed this number. The French anti-terrorism unit is going to investigate the matter.
More than two hours after the attack, police in the southern French city of Avignon shot dead a man who had threatened passersby with a gun. No one else was injured. For the time being there are no indications that it is a terrorist attack, according to the police.
An incident also took place in Saudi Arabia. Saudi authorities arrested a man who attacked a guard at the French consulate in Jeddah with a “sharp object,” reports the French embassy. Twitter. The guard has been taken to hospital and is out of danger.
The suspect in Nice was arrested soon after the attack. He was shot during his arrest.
Mayor Estrosi says the sexton of the church may have been killed in the attack. Agents and other relief workers are present in large numbers at the church.
French President Emmanuel Macron is soon visiting Nice. French media report that a minute’s silence has already been observed by the National Assembly, the lower house of the French parliament.
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 Mohammed during a lesson on freedom of speech.
Whether there is a link between the Nice attack and the murder of Paty has not yet been established. Nor is it certain whether this incident has anything to do with extremist Islamism. Mayor Estrosi says the attacker shouted “Allahu akbar” (“God is 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. As a result, tensions between France and Islamic countries such as Egypt and Turkey have increased.