Three people have been killed in a knife attack at a church in the French city of Nice, police say.
A woman has been decapitated, and two others have been killed, during a knife attack inside the Notre Dame Basilica church in the French city of Nice.
The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, tweeted that the incident is a “terrorist” attack.
Here’s what we know so far:
- At least three people, two women and a man have been killed, including one woman who was decapitated. The man is reportedly the sexton of the church.
- Nice mayor Christian Estrosi said it was a terrorist attack, and that the “Islamo-fascist” assailant “didn’t stop shouting Allahu Akhbar even under medication” after being shot and arrested.
- France raises its alert status to “terror attack emergency” – PM Castex
- The police believe the attacker, who has been named as ‘Brahim’, aged 25, was acting alone.
- A suspect with a knife reportedly shouting “Allahu Akbar” has been fatally shot during an attack on police officers in Avignon.
- A Saudi citizen has also been arrested in Jeddah for stabbing a security guard outside the French consulate with “a sharp tool”.
Two of those who died were attacked inside the church, the elderly woman and a man who was found with his throat cut, reports said.
A woman managed to flee to a nearby cafe after being stabbed several times, but died later.
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.”
Tom Vannier, a journalism student who arrived at the scene just after the attack, told the BBC that people were crying on the street.
Four years ago Nice was the scene of another terror attack, when a Tunisian drove a truck into crowds celebrating Bastille Dayon 14 July, killing 86 people.
A minute’s silence was held in the National Assembly, where Prime Minister Jean Castex had just been giving details of the Covid-19 lockdown measures coming into force on Thursday night.
Announcing the raising of the “vigipirate” national security alert system to its highest level, Mr Castex said the Nice attack was “as cowardly as it is barbaric”.
The French Council of the Muslim Faith condemned the knife attack and spoke of its solidarity with the victims and their families.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, tweeting in English and French, said the UK stood “steadfastly” with France.
A timeline of recent 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
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