This recent attack happened in Notre Dame church in the French city of Nice. The suspect who is 21 arrived on the Italian island of Lampedusa by migrant boat last month issues with an Italian Red Cross document.
At last update he was in critical condition after shot by the police. One of his victims was “virtually beheaded”, said the French chief anti-terrorism prosecutor.
President Emmanuel Macron said it was an “Islamist terrorist attack” and that the number of soldiers being deployed to protect public places – such as churches and schools – would rise from 3,000 to 7,000. Anti-terror prosecutors have opened an investigation, and France has raised its national security alert to the highest level.
Thursday’s stabbings at a church in the southern French city of Nice seemed a repeat of an earlier attack this month near a school north-west of Paris. Samuel Paty, a teacher, was beheaded days after showing controversial cartoons of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad to some of his pupils.
That murder has heightened tensions in France. As have Mr Macron’s defence of the right to publish the cartoons and the government’s attempts to crack down on radical Islam have angered Turkey and other Muslim-majority countries. https://emp.bbc.com/emp/SMPj/2.36.2/iframe.html
The suspect in the Nice attack was heard repeatedly shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest) before being shot by police.
A Koran, two telephones and a 30cm (12-inch) knife were found on the attacker, said French chief anti-terrorist prosecutor Jean-François Ricard.
“We also found a bag left by the attacker. Next to this bag were two knives that were not used in the attack,” he added.
Police sources named the attacker as Brahim Aouissaoui.
Speaking after visiting Nice, Mr Macron said: “If we are attacked once again it is for the values which are ours: freedom, for the possibility on our soil to believe freely and not to give in to any spirit of terror.
“I say it with great clarity once again today: we won’t surrender anything.”Two other attacks took place on Thursday, one in France and one in Saudi Arabia.
A man was shot dead in Montfavet near the southern French city of Avignon after threatening police with a handgun.
A guard was attacked outside the French consulate in Jeddah in Saudi Arabia. A suspect was arrested and the guard taken to hospital.
The victims of Nice attack
All three were attacked inside the basilica on Thursday morning before the first Mass of the day.
Two died inside the church: a 60-year-old woman who was “virtually beheaded”, and a 55-year-old man whose throat was cut.
The male victim was a lay member of staff responsible for the upkeep of the church. He reportedly had a wife and two children.
Another woman, aged 44, managed to flee to a nearby cafe after being stabbed several times, but died later.image captionThe suspect was detained minutes after the attack at the basilica
It later emerged that a witness had managed to raise the alarm with a special protection system set up by the city.
Chloe, a witness who lives near the church, told the BBC: “We heard many people shouting in the street. We saw from the window that there were many, many policemen coming, and gunshots, many gunshots.”
It should be noted that Nice saw one of the worst jihadist attacks four years ago when a when a truck was driven by a Tunisian into crowds celebrating Bastille Day on 14 July, killing 86 people.
Governments around the world have condemned Thursday’s attack, including France’s European neighbours, the US, Turkey, Egypt, Qatar and Lebanon.The terrorist threat level in France is as high now as it was in 2015-16. These attacks seem to be in reaction to President Macron’s hearty defence of secularism at Samuel Paty’s memorial 10 days ago. The speech started threats then deaths.
Here is a look at latest attacks in France
October 2020: French teacher Samuel Paty is beheaded outside a school in a suburb of Paris
September 2020: Two people are stabbed and seriously hurt in Paris near the former offices of Charlie Hebdo, where Islamist militants carried out a deadly attack in 2015
October 2019: Radicalised police computer operator Mickaël Harpon is shot dead after stabbing to death three officers and a civilian worker at Paris police headquarters
July 2016: Two attackers kill a priest, Jacques Hamel, and seriously wound another hostage after storming a church in a suburb of Rouen in northern France
July 2016: A gunman drives a large lorry into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, killing 86 people in an attack claimed by the Islamic State (IS) group
November 2015: Gunmen and suicide bombers launch multiple co-ordinated attacks on the Bataclan concert hall, a major stadium, restaurants and bars in Paris, leaving 130 people dead and hundreds wounded
January 2015: Two Islamist militant gunmen force their way into Charlie Hebdo’s offices and shoot dead 12 people