A striker with a knife killed at least two people and injured several others near a church in the southern French city of Nice on Thursday, according to police officers. The city mayor described the incident as an act of terrorism.
Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi said on Twitter the knife attack had taken place in or near the town’s Notre Dame church and that police had detained the attacker.
Police said at least two people were confirmed dead after the attack.
The French Interior Ministry said on Twitter that security and rescue forces were on the scene and urged residents to avoid the area.
IS ALERT | A serious event took place at Notre-Dame Church in #Nice. Security and rescue forces are in place. Avoid the sector and follow the instructions of the authorities. pic.twitter.com/EjzmPPVRHZ
– Ministry of the Interior – Alert (@Beauvau_Alerte) October 29, 2020
The attacker was arrested after the attack and taken to a nearby hospital after being injured during his arrest, a police officer said. He was supposed to act alone, the official said.
France’s lower house of parliament suspended a debate on a new nationwide Covid-19 lockdown and kept a momentary silence for the victims.
The attack comes as France is still writhing over the beheading earlier this month by French middle school teacher Samuel Paty of a man of Chechen origin who said he would punish Paty for showing students cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in a civic lesson.
Since Pity’s killing, French officials – backed by many ordinary citizens – have once again claimed the right to show the cartoons, and the images have been disseminated by marches in solidarity with the slain teacher.
This has led to an outpouring of anger in parts of the Muslim world, with some governments accusing French leader Emmanuel Macron of pursuing an anti-Islam agenda.
( Jowharwith AFP, AP and REUTERS)