NICE, France — Three people were killed and at least one woman was beheaded by an attacker with a knife in the Notre Dame Church in Nice, France on Thursday in an incident described by the city’s mayor as an act of terrorism.
Mayor Christian Estrosi said on Twitter that the police had detained the attacker, who had reportedly yelled ‘Allahu Akbar’ during the attack. According to Estrosi, all indications point to the incident as being a terrorist attack.
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
Police said three people were confirmed dead and several others were injured.
Thursday’s attack comes amid rising tensions in the country following the beheading of French schoolteacher Samuel Paty (47) in Paris by Chechen refugee Abdullah Anzurov (18).
Anzurov murdered Paty for using a cartoon of the Islamic Prophet Mohammed as a resource in a lesson on freedom of speech.
In public comments, Macron referred to the incident as an attack on “the Republic and its values”.
According to French BFM TV channel, decisions were taken to tighten security measures in educational institutions and raise the level of interest in messages posted on social media. After the murder, more than 20 publications supporting the crime had been monitored, and the security services pledged to hold the publishers of these messages accountable.
France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office said that authorities investigating the murder also arrested nine suspects related to the attack, including the grandfather, parents, and 17-year-old brother of the attacker.
The French authorities also decided to tighten monitoring of the activities of some associations suspected of spreading extremist Islamic propaganda.