Christopher Elliott/WASHINGTON P
Two people have been killed and several others injured in a knife attack in France.
A woman has been beheaded during a knife attack in Nice, France, that left at least three people dead and several injured, Reuters reports.
French police confirmed the three deaths to Reuters, along with the city’s mayor, Christian Estrosi.
“Everything suggests a terrorist attack in the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Nice,” Estrosi tweeted.
The assailant was arrested after the Thursday morning knife 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 authorised to be publicly named.
The French anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office said an investigation was opened into an attack with a terrorist connection.
Images on French media showed the neighbourhood locked down and surrounded by police and emergency vehicles. Sounds of explosions could be heard as sappers exploded suspicious objects.
The exact motive of the attack was unclear but comes as France is under alert for Islamic extremist acts amid tensions over caricatures of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad published by satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo, and after two other recent attacks in France with links to the cartoons.
The lower house of parliament suspended a debate on new virus restrictions and held a moment of silence Thursday for the victims. The prime minister rushed from the hall to head to a crisis centre overseeing the aftermath of the attack.
Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi said the attacker shouted “Allahu akbar!” repeatedly as police apprehended him and that “the meaning of his gesture left no doubt.”
Speaking to reporters in Nice, Estrosi said two people were killed inside the church and a third person who escaped to a nearby bar was in a life-threatening condition.
– AP, additional reporting by Stuff