3 Dead In Knife Attack Near Church In French City Of Nice

Three people have been killed and several others wounded after a knife attack near a church in the French city of Nice.

Mayor Christian Estrosi said on Twitter the knife attack had happened in or near the city’s Notre Dame church and that police had detained the attacker. He described the attack as terrorism.

A suspect has been arrested and is being treated in hospital.

Police armed with automatic weapons had put up a security cordon around the church, which is on Nice’s Jean Medecin Avenue, the city’s main shopping thoroughfare. Ambulances and fire service vehicles were also at the scene.

The attack comes while France is still reeling from the fatal attack earlier this month of French middle school teacher Samuel Paty. The attacker, 18-year-old Abdullakh Anzorov, had said he wanted to punish Paty for showing pupils cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in a civics lesson. Anzorov was shot dead by police shortly after the attack. 

It was not immediately clear what the motive was for the Nice attack, or if there was any connection to the cartoons, which Muslims consider to be blasphemous.

Since Paty’s killing, French officials — backed by many ordinary citizens — have re-asserted the right to display the cartoons, and the images have been widely displayed at marches in solidarity with the killed teacher.

That has prompted an outpouring of anger in parts of the Muslim world, with some governments accusing French leader Emmanuel Macron of pursuing an anti-Islam agenda.

The death toll has been updated in this story.

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