Three slaughtered in French cathedral terror attack

Top News | Agence France-Presse 30 Oct 2020

A knife-wielding man killed three people at a church in the French city of Nice yesterday, reportedly beheading two of them in what officials are treating as the latest jihadist attack to rock the country.

The assailant was shot and wounded by police, Nice's Mayor Christian Estrosi said.

"He kept repeating 'Allahu Akbar' [God is Greater] even while under medication" as he was brought to the hospital, Estrosi told journalists.

Police found the body of a woman whose throat had been cut in an apparent beheading attempt inside the Basilica de Notre-Dame, in the heart of the Mediterranean resort city, a source close to the inquiry said.

The body of a man was also found inside, while a third person died after seeking refuge in a nearby bar.

Father Philippe Asso, who serves at the Notre-Dame's basilica, said that no mass was underway at the time of the attack, but the church opens around 8am and "people come in to pray at all hours."

He said one victim was a church employee aged about 45.

The attack comes just days after thousands rallied across France in solidarity with a teacher beheaded for having shown pupils cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.

The latest attack, just days ahead of the Catholic holy day of All Saints Day, prompted Prime Minister Jean Castex to raise the terror alert level to maximum across the country.

Police sources said the suspect gave his name as "Brahim" and his age as 25, but his identity had yet to be confirmed.

Daniel Conilh, a 32-year-old waiter at the Grand Cafe de Lyon, a block from the church, said it was shortly before 9am when "shots were fired and everybody took off running."

"A woman came in straight from the church and said, 'Run, run, someone has been stabbing people'," he told AFP, and dozens of police and rescue vehicles quickly sealed off the neighborhood.

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