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1 beheaded, 3 killed in French church terror attack

French Anti Riot Police. ( Kristoffer Trolle, Wikimedia Commos/Released)
October 29, 2020

A knife-wielding attacker beheaded a woman and two more were killed in a knife attack at a Church in Nice, France on Thursday.

CNN reported Nice’s mayor, Christian Estrosi, said the attacker was shot by responding police, but was still alive and was taken into custody. A second woman who was stabbed was reportedly able to leave the scene of the attack but died in a nearby cafe. The third victim, a man, died after being stabbed multiple times.

CNN reported the attack took place at the Notre Dame Basilica in Nice.

According to the BBC, Estrosi claimed the attacker had shouted “Allahu Ackbar” (God is great) and that the attack was being treated as terrorism. BBC reported Estrosi described the incident as “Islamo-fascism.”

In a translated tweet, Estrosi 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.”

The knife attack comes two weeks after a similar attack in which a French teacher was beheaded in Paris, France. The teacher, Samuel Paty, was attacked after having reportedly shared depictions of the Muslim prophet Muhammad in the class he taught.

On Thursday, French Prime Minister raised France’s “vigipirate” national security alert system to its highest level. Castex said the Nice attack was “as cowardly as it is barbaric.”

In a translated tweet, Castex said, “The Government has just brought the Vigipirate plan to the level of an emergency attack throughout the country. The President of the Republic convened tomorrow morning a Defense and National Security Council.”

In a separate incident within hours of the Nice attack, police near the French city of Avignon shot and killed a man who was also reportedly shouting “Allahu Ackbar” and waiving a handgun, Reuters reported.

In the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah, a Saudi man was arrested after attacking and wounding a security guard at the French consulate in the city, Reuters reported. The guard was hospitalized and his life was not in danger.

On Thursday the U.S. State Department’s travel advisory account tweeted, “#France: Confirmed reports of knife attacks at Notre Dame Cathedral in Nice and against police in Avignon. While there has been no evidence these attacks are coordinated, be vigilant and practice sound personal security measures. Monitor local media for updates.”

The website for the U.S. Embassy and Consulates in France also issued a security alert. The alert noted the attacks in Nice and Avignon and advised travelers to have a plan for emergency situations.