Three persons were killed in a suspected terrorist attack in the whereabouts of the Notre Dame church in Nice, France on Thursday, October 29. News reports suggest a knife-wielding man, chanting “Allahu Akbar”, attacked the church gathering, in what the police described as a “vision of horror.” Out of the three dead, one woman was reportedly beheaded, with several others in the gathering left injured. The attacker has been arrested and taken into custody, police confirmed. French President Emmanuel Macron will supposedly visit Nice.

The horrific incident, which comes merely two weeks after the communal murder of history teacher Samuel Paty in Paris, has been publicly condemned by Nice’s mayor Christian Estrosi. “Enough is enough. It’s time now for France to exonerate itself from the laws of peace in order to definitively wipe out Islamo-fascism from our territory,” he said as reported by Reuters. Classifying the attack as terrorism, Estrosi informed reporters, “The suspected knife attacker was shot by police while being detained, he is on his way to hospital, he is alive.”

Estrosi, in the video, can be heard expressing solidarity with the families of the victims: 

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Triple Murder Shocks France

As per The Guardian, the attacker had entered the premises of the Notre Dame basilica, the largest church in Nice, at approximately 9 am, and within ten minutes, claimed three lives. One of the three victims has been identified as the church-warden (called sacristain). 

A witness at the restaurant across the church told local media, “I was selling croissants when a man came in and said to me: ‘Monsieur, there’s a decapitated woman in the cathedral’. I didn’t believe him at first but he repeated it. I went to the cathedral and saw the municipal police and called to them. They came quickly.”

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Lawmakers of the National Assembly in Paris, including French Prime Minister Jean Castex, observed a minute’s silence for the victims of the attack in Nice. “Without question, this is a very serious new challenge that is striking our country,” the BBC quoted him saying.

Former French President Nicolas Sarkozy took to Twitter to express solidarity with Nice. The French Council of the Muslim Faith, a national body, condemned the attack and made a “call on the Muslims of France to cancel all the Mawlid festivities” as a “sign of mourning and solidarity,” CNN reported. Mawlid is the observance of Prophet Muhammad’s birth anniversary.

Nice Mayor Recalls Samuel Paty’s Murder

Mayor Estrosi likened the Nice attack to Paty’s murder in Paris on October 16 this year. Saying that the victims had been killed in a “horrible way,” he stated, “The methods match, without doubt, those used against the brave teacher in Conflans Sainte Honorine, Samuel Paty.”

Paty, a middle-school history teacher in the Paris suburbs, was decapitated for showing cartoons of Prophet Muhammad in class to students. The killer, an 18-year-old, was shot dead by the French police. The gruesome incident had sent shockwaves across France, reminiscent of the 2015 Charlie Hebdo attack. President Macron, terming the incident as an “Islamist terror attack,” had called Paty a “quiet hero.”

Picture Credit: The Independent

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