A woman has been beheaded and two more have been killed in a knife attack in the French city of Nice, the BBC reports.
The incident occurred very close to the city’s Notre Dame church, and was described by Mayor Christian Estrosi as an act of terrorism.
“We have two people killed inside the church […] and a third person who was in a bar facing the church where she had taken refuge,” the Mayor said.
“Enough is enough.”
Worshippers were inside the building at the time of the attack, and they were able to raise alarm using a special emergency alert system set up by the city.
One of the victims was the caretaker of the basilica. The attacker allegedly yelled “Allahu Akbar” during the incident.
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 have established a cordon around the crime scene on Jean Medecin Avenue, the main shopping street in Nice.
The attack in Nice is being linked by the Mayor and other right-wing politicians to another beheading earlier in the month in which a teacher was murdered after showing an image of the Prophet Mohammed in the classroom, which is considered to be blasphemous by Muslims and at the very least offensive by many others.
At the time, President Emmanuel Macon claimed France was in an “existential” battle against Islamic fundamentalism, a comment which sparked anger among Muslims in France and around the world.
“Before it was a school professor, this time the Islamo-fascist barbarism chose to attack inside a church. Again, it is very symbolic,” the Mayor of Nice, a member of the conservative Les Républicains party, said.
Tensions have risen since that earlier incident, with many French citizens and officials publicly reasserting their right to show the Charlie Hebdo cartoon of the Prophet Mohammed.
Nice was also targeted back in 2016 when a truck ploughed into crowds celebrating Bastille day.
A total of 86 people were killed in that attack, making it France’s most deadly incident in recent years.
More to come.