Fatal knife attack in French city of Nice described as terrorism

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Paris: An attacker with a knife killed three people and injured several more at a church in the French city of Nice on Thursday, police said, in an incident the city's mayor described as terrorism.

Mayor Christian Estrosi said on Twitter that the knife attack had happened in or near the city's Notre Dame church and that police had detained the suspected attacker.



Police said several people were injured.

A police source said a woman was decapitated. French politician Marine Le Pen also spoke of a decapitation having occurred in the attack.

Mayor Estrosi's tweet said: “I am on site with the @PoliceNat06 and the @pmdenice who arrested the perpetrator of the attack. I confirm that everything suggests a terrorist attack in the Basilica of Notre-Dame de #Nice06 .”

He later told reporters that the suspect kept shouting "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest) even after he had been arrested by police.

Estrosi also said the French President Emmanuel Macron would be coming to Nice.

Brendan Berne, who finished serving as Australia’s ambassador to France earlier this month and has moved to Nice, said he was at the church on Wednesday and that he was thinking of the victims.

The attack comes while France is still reeling from the beheading earlier this month of French high school teacher Samuel Paty in Paris by a man of Chechen origin.

The attacker had said he wanted to punish Paty for showing pupils cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in a civics lesson.

A motive for the Nice attack was not immediately clear, or if there was any connection to the cartoons, which Muslims consider to be blasphemous.

Since Paty's killing, French officials – backed by many ordinary citizens – have re-asserted the right to display the cartoons, and the images have been widely displayed at marches in solidarity with the killed teacher.

That has prompted an outpouring of anger in parts of the Muslim world, with some governments accusing French leader Emmanuel Macron of pursuing an anti-Islam agenda.

Reuters

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