3 dead, several injured in fresh terror attack in France
London, Oct. 29, 2020 (AltAfrica)-French media reported three deaths and several injuries in a knife attack in Nice, southern France, on October 29.
Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi said there had been a “terrorist attack at the heart of the Notre-Dame basilica”.
Among the dead is a woman whom the suspect beheaded.
French police believe the attacker acted alone.
Police arrested the suspect and transferred him to the hospital after he sustained an injury during the arrest.
The motive behind the attack is still unclear, but the BBC quoted Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi as saying that “everything pointed to a terrorist attack” at the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Nice.
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin called on all people to stay away from the scene.
The attack comes in an alarming context in France, which is witnessing a crisis in the aftermath of the murder of middle school teacher Samuel Paty on October 16.
An 18-year-old student attacked the teacher and beheaded him for displaying Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad during a class on freedom of expression.
The murder angered Muslims and people of all religions alike. The French government’s polarizing rhetoric after the murder, however, angered Muslims.
President Emmanuel Macron said Islamists “want our future” and maintained that France will not give up its cartoons that Muslims consider insulting to Islam and the prophet.
The statements by Macron pushed millions of Muslims to boycott French products.
The French government responded to the boycott, calling on Arab and Muslim countries to end the campaign.
The French government also described the campaign as an attack from a “radical minority.”
Several countries condemned France for using the Charlie Hebdo caricatures in the name of freedom of expression.
Morocco said the offenses against Islam and the Prophet Muhammad reflect “a lack of maturity.”
Turkish President Tayyip Recep Erdogan called on Macron to have “mental checks,” while Pakistan’s prime minister questioned how a leader who is supposed to spread coexistence between religions could promote hatred through his controversial remarks.
What is known about the attack in Nice?
Two of those who died were attacked inside the church, the elderly woman and a man who was found with his throat cut, reports said.
A woman managed to flee to a nearby cafe after being stabbed several times, but died later.
It later emerged that a witness had managed to raise the alarm with a special protection system set up by the city.
Chloe, a witness who lives near the church, told the BBC: “We heard many people shouting in the street. We saw from the window that there were many, many policemen coming, and gunshots, many gunshots.”
Tom Vannier, a journalism student who arrived at the scene just after the attack, told the BBC that people were crying on the street.
Four years ago Nice was the scene of another terror attack when a man drove a truck into seaside crowds, killing 86 people.