NEW YORK - An attacker armed with a knife killed three people at a church Thursday in the Mediterranean city of Nice, authorities said. It was the third attack in two months in France.
The assailant was arrested after the Thursday morning attack at the Notre Dame Church and taken to a nearby hospital after being injured during his arrest, a police official said. He was believed to be acting alone and police are not searching for other assailants, the official said. She was not authorized to be publicly named.
The anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office said an investigation was opened into an attack with a terrorist connection.
Images on French media showed the neighborhood locked down and surrounded by police and emergency vehicles. Sounds of explosions could be heard as sappers exploded suspicious objects.
“He cried ‘Allah Akbar!' over and over, even after he was injured,” said Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi, who told BFM television that three people had died, two inside the church and a third who fled but was mortally wounded. “The meaning of his gesture left no doubt.”
The lower house of parliament suspended a debate on France's new virus restrictions and held a moment of silence Thursday for the victims. The prime minister rushed from the hall to a crisis center overseeing the aftermath of the Nice attack. French President Emmanuel Macron was headed to Nice later in the day.
Less than two weeks ago, an assailant decapitated a French middle school teacher who showed caricatures of the Prophet Muhammed for a class on free speech. Those caricatures were published by Charlie Hebdo and cited by the men who gunned down the newspaper's editorial meeting in 2015.
In New York City, counter-terrorism officials said they were closely monitoring the situation and there was no known current threat to the city.
With the Associated Press
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