Knife attacker kills 3 in French city of Nice

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A man armed with a knife killed three people — two women and a man — in a suspected terrorist attack at a church in the French coastal city of Nice on Thursday. — Courtesy photo
A man armed with a knife killed three people — two women and a man — in a suspected terrorist attack at a church in the French coastal city of Nice on Thursday. — Courtesy photo

PARIS — A man armed with a knife killed three people — two women and a man — in a suspected terrorist attack at a church in the French coastal city of Nice on Thursday.

The attack took place in a church, the Notre Dame Basilica, on Thursday. The victims include one woman who was "decapitated" inside the church, according to the city’s Mayor Christian Estrosi said.

The mayor said the attacker was shot by police, but is still alive and has been taken into custody.

The mayor added that the man shouted “Allahu Akbar” several times while he was being arrested and handcuffed by police.

"I am on the scene with the police who arrested the attacker. Everything points to a terrorist attack," Estrosi posted on his Twitter account.

Later at a press conference, the mayor said one of the female victims had been “decapitated” but he had no details of how the two others were killed.

“We have two people killed inside the church ... and a third person who was in a bar facing the church where she had taken refuge,” Estrosi said. “Enough is enough ... we have to remove this Islamo-fascism from our territory.”

Estrosi compared the attack to the recent murder of teacher Samuel Paty, who was beheaded close to his school outside Paris earlier this month.

France’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said he was chairing a crisis meeting at the ministry in response to the attack.

President Emmanuel Macron will travel to Nice after attending that meeting, the Elysee Palace said.

France's anti-terror prosecutor has taken on the investigation into the attack, a spokesperson for the prosecutor's office said.

The French Council of the Muslim Faith strongly denounced the incident and called on French Muslims to cancel Thursday's Mawlid celebrations.

Mawlid is celebrated by some Muslims to mark the birthday of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).

"We strongly condemn the terrorist attack that took place near the Notre-Dame Basilica in Nice. As a sign of mourning and solidarity with the victims and their families, we call on the Muslims of France to cancel all the Mawlid festivities," the council stated in a post on its Twitter account. — Agencies


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