Nice Terror Attack: Two People Beheaded on Streets of France
Three killed & many more stabbed by knife-wielding terrorist chanting 'Allahu Akbar'
Three people have been killed - two of them beheaded - on the streets of Nice, France on Thursday morning by a knife-wielding terrorist who was reportedly chanting "Allahu Akbar" during the attack.
Several others have also been injured during the stabbing rampage at the Notre Dame basilica - the largest Roman Catholic church in Nice.
The attack began around 9 am - just as Mass at the cathedral was getting underway.
Armed police quickly swarmed the area, where they shot and arrested the terrorist.
The suspect survived the shooting and has been taken to hospital.
The attacker appears to have been acting alone, police revealed.
Two of the dead are women, one is a man, police sources told French media.
The city's mayor, Christian Estrosi, said one victim was "a guardian so appreciated by the parishioners."
No other details have been released.
Estrosi told reporters that the attacker "kept shouting Allahu Akbar even after being medicated," and that "the meaning of his gesture is not in doubt."
He later tweeted: "I confirm that everything suggests a terrorist attack in the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Nice.
"Nice has paid too heavy a price in the same way as our country in recent years.
"I call for unity among the people of this city."
Naming a teacher who was beheaded in another attack in Paris, he added:
"Thirteen days after Samuel Paty, our country can no longer be satisfied with the laws of peace to annihilate Islamo-fascism."
Images on French media showed the neighborhood locked down and surrounded by police and emergency vehicles.
Sounds of explosions could be heard as sappers exploded suspicious objects.
Police confirmed that the anti-terror prosecutor has been charged with carrying out the investigation on charges of murder and attempted murder.
French politicians were taking part in a debate on the country's new coronavirus restrictions when news of the attack reached them.
They observed a minute of silence before the debate broke up so an emergency security meeting could be held.
Gérald Darmanin, the French Interior Minister, confirmed that a crisis meeting had been held alongside Prime Minister Jean Castex.
Emmanuel Macron chaired the meeting and is expected in Nice shortly.
The attack is just the latest to strike France after history teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded in another attack north of Paris.
Paty was stabbed by an 18-year-old Chechen after he showed the cartoons to his students during a lesson on free speech.
Parents of pupils at the school had led a campaign against him before the attack took place.
Seven have been arrested.
Just a few weeks earlier, an 18-year-old Pakistani stabbed a wounded two people outside the old offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
The man has admitted to police that he was targeting the magazine for publishing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.
It also comes amid violent mass protests in many Islamic countries against Emmanuel Macron, after the French president spoke up in defence of the cartoons.
Tweeting in Arabic, he wrote: "Nothing makes us hold back, ever.
"We respect all differences in the spirit of peace.
"We never accept hate speech and defend rational debate.
"We will always stand by human dignity and universal values."
His remarks have prompted demonstrations in Gaza, Turkey, Pakistan, and Bangladesh, and boycotts of French products in Jordan, Kuwait, Qatar, and Palestinian territories.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has led outrage at Macron, suggesting that he is mentally ill and needs to have his health evaluated.