The suspect was shot by police while being detained but is alive and in hospital.
A man wielding a knife on Thursday killed three people and injured several others in an attack at the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Nice in southern France. A suspect has been arrested in the attack, which Nice’s mayor has described as an act of terrorism. Follow our live blog below for real-time updates.
French anti-terror prosecutors have opened an inquiry into what the city’s Mayor Christian Estrosi called an “Islamo-fascist attack.”
“The attacker kept repeating ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is Great) even while under medication” after he was injured during his arrest, Estrosi told journalists at the scene.
Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi said the suspect behind the attack had been arrested. Estrosi said it appeared that the incident had been a terrorist attack on the city’s Basilica of Notre-Dame.
Je suis sur place avec la @PoliceNat06 et la @pmdenice qui a interpellé l’auteur de l’attaque. Je confirme que tout laisse supposer à un attentat terroriste au sein de la basilique Notre-Dame de #Nice06. pic.twitter.com/VmpDqRwzB1— Christian Estrosi (@cestrosi) October 29, 2020
“I ask the people of Nice to avoid the area to let the police and the emergency services work,” wrote Estrosi.
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.
The individual, who was shot and injured by police, left “no doubt… about the meaning of his action,” Estrosi said. He added that the victims had been killed “in a horrible way.”
Two of the victims are believed to have died in the church while another escaped but later succumbed to injuries they had sustained.
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said a police operation was underway and that he would be chairing a crisis meeting. France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor’s department said it was investigating the attack.
It is believed that the attacker was acting alone and police are not thought to be searching for other assailants.
The incident took place less than a kilometer (just over half a mile) from the site where an attacker in 2016 plowed a truck into a Bastille Day crowd, killing dozens.
The attack comes with the country still reeling from the beheading of a middle school teacher, Samuel Paty, earlier this month in Paris by a man of Chechen origin.
rc/sms (AFP, Reuters)