A man armed with a knife killed three people at the Notre Dame Basilica in Nice in southern France and put the European country on high alert.
One of the victims was beheaded, another managed to escape but bled to death, the third died from his wounds.
The attacker is a 21-year-old Tunisian man, who arrived in Europe via the Italian island of Lampedusa in September.
According to Christian Estrosi, Mayor of Nice, the attacker shouted the phrase in Arabic Allahu Akbar! (God is great) over and over again, even after being subdued.
After that, the man was also injured, was arrested and later transferred to a hospital, with a serious health prognosis.
Authorities believe the attacker acted alone.
However, they will monitor their movements to determine if there are accomplices.
The first investigations revealed that the attacker arrived at the Nice train station around 7 a.m., where he changed his clothes.
Then, the aggressor walked about 400 meters to the basilica, which he entered at approximately 8:30 am. There he would have remained just over half an hour, before committing the crime and trying to flee.
The antiterrorist prosecutor, Jean-François Ricard, reported that the perpetrator of the attack does not appear in the fingerprint records nor was he on the radar of the intelligence services of the European country.
The authorities detailed that they found a copy of the Koran and two telephones.
In addition, the murder weapon, the man carried a bag with two knives that he did not use.
The security forces also located a document from the Italian Red Cross.
The Prosecutor’s Office is considering charging him with murder and terrorism charges.
After the attack on the basilica, the president of France, Emmanuel Macron, moved to Nice to support the city.
The president described the attack as terrorist.
Very clearly, it is France that is under attack. We will not give in on French values, ”he assured in the disaster area.
In response, the president announced the increase in military personnel from three thousand to seven thousand, with the aim of monitoring churches and schools, as part of the operation Sentinelle.
Prime Minister Jean Castex announced that the government will raise the planVigipirate terrorist alert, at the level of urgency for an attack in the whole territory.
This can be triggered immediately after an attack or if an identified and not located terrorist group takes action.
This level is activated for a limited time, the time necessary to manage the crisis.
It allows to guarantee the exceptional mobilization of media ”, assured Castex.
For their part, the Tunisian authorities opened an investigation to clarify this fact, said the spokesman for the Tunisian Court of First Instance, Mohsen Dali.
The attack was the third in two months attributed to Muslim extremists, including the beheading of a teacher two weeks ago.
In addition, the aggression was recorded during the controversy over the cartoons of the prophet Muhammad recently republished by the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
There were also other clashes and attacks in the city of Avignon, in southern France, and in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia. However, so far it is not immediately clear whether they were related to the attack in Nice.
At night, citizens placed offerings and candles near the temple as a tribute to the victims.
“RUN, THERE ARE DEAD”
Daniel Conilh witnessed the terrorist attack on the Nice Cathedral. Minutes after the attack, he managed to alert the population.
Everyone ran away, there were shots. A lady came directly from the church and told us: Run, run, someone attacked, there are going to be shots, there are dead people, ”said Conilh, who works as a waiter in a cafeteria located near the church in Nice where a man killed three people in a knife attack.
I was there, I was serving, ”said the 32-year-old.
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