Paris, Oct 29 (efe-epa).- At least three people have been killed in a knife attack on a Catholic church in central Nice, on the French Riviera, the city’s mayor Christian Estrosi said Thursday.
The attacker has been shot and detained by police, Estrosi said, adding that “everything points to a terrorist attack at the heart of the Notre Dame basilica.”
The attack comes two weeks after a 47-year-old teacher, Samuel Paty, was beheaded by an extremist Islamist outside his school near Paris. Paty had shown a caricature of the prophet Muhammad to his pupils during a discussion on freedom of speech.
Images of the prophet are considered deeply offensive by many Muslims and are widely seen as taboo in Islam.
Following the brutal murder, French President Macron pledged that the country would “not give up its cartoons”. His comments and support of the teacher have sparked a furious reaction across the Muslim world.
“Thirteen days after Samuel Paty, our country cannot be satisfied with laws of peace to annihilate Islamofascism,” Estrosi said in a series of Twitter posts.
He added that he had spoken on the phone with French President, Emmanuel Macron, who was en route to the city.
He said in footage posted to his Twitter account that one of the fatal victims was a woman who was beheaded, and that the perpetrator, who was seriously injured during his arrest by the municipal police, was repeatedly shouting “Allahu Akbar” (‘God is greatest’).
“Nice is once again the victim of Islamofascism. My first words are of compassion. We are wounded in our hearts to see that our city has again been targeted. I would like to say to all the families of the victims of this savage, how much we are by your side,” he said.
The assailant was taken down within minutes after a witness sounded an alarm.