Knife Attack in Nice: Three Dead, Anti-Terrorism Prosecution Opens an Investigation

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Members of the RAID in front of the Notre-Dame church in Nice after a knife attack on October 29, 2020

An individual with a knife killed three people Thursday 29th October 2020 near the Notre-Dame basilica in Nice. The perpetrator was arrested.

knife attack took place at the Notre-Dame Basilica in Nice (Alpes-Maritimes) Thursday 29th October 2020, around 9am.

Three people were killed and several others injured, according to the latest report.

The perpetrator was arrested. He was injured during the police intervention and taken to hospital, according to a police source.

The terrorist prosecution has opened an investigation for “assassination” and “attempted assassination”.

What there is to know (Updated)

A knife attack occurred this Thursday 29th October around 9 am at the Notre-Dame Basilica, in the heart of Nice. Three people died, two of them inside the church.

Knife Attack in the Basilica

Two people, a man and a woman, were killed in the Notre-Dame church, according to police sources.

A third seriously injured, managed to flee to a bar, but also died, according to police sources.

The mayor of Nice said the guardian of the church was among the victims. In a message on social networks, Christian Estrosi pays tribute to this man, “so appreciated by the parishioners”.

“Terrorist attack”

The attack took place around 9 a.m. at the Notre-Dame basilica. The mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi immediately mentioned “a terrorist attack”.

“The author of the acts did not stop repeating in front of us” Allah Akhbar “while he was medicalized”, underlined the elected official in front of the press.

The cordoned-off neighbourhood

The area is currently cordoned off, informs the Nice police. The place of the attack is located in the city centre.

The RAID, the judicial police, the public security and the scientific police are on the spot to carry out the investigations. Police advise avoiding the area.

“The situation is under control, we must not panic,” said the police on the spot. “The detonations you hear are caused by the Raid, the demining services,” added Florence Gavello, police spokesperson.

The mayor of Nice says he has called for all churches and places of worship to be closed in the city, as well as public places “where a concern could reign,” such as crèches, he said.

Police officers at the scene of a knife attack on October 29, 2020 in Nice.
Police officers at the scene of a knife attack on October 29, 2020 in Nice. (© AFP / Valery HACHE)

Crisis unit in progress

The Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin announced on Twitter the opening of a crisis unit.

“A new very serious test is still hitting our country”, Prime Minister Jean Castex told the National Assembly, also referring to “an attack”.

The Prime Minister announced to parliamentarians, to whom he discussed the reconfinement plan, that he was going to the crisis unit. A minute of silence was observed in the National Assembly. 

Emmanuel Macron must go to the scene of the tragedy.

The French Council for Muslim Worship condemns

“I can only strongly condemn the cowardice of this gesture against innocent people,” Abdallah Zekri, delegate general of the French Council for Muslim Worship (CFCM), told AFP in a statement after this attack, which occurs less than two weeks after the beheading of a teacher, Samuel Paty, in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, in the Yvelines.

Nice has already been bereaved by an attack on July 14th, 2016 on the Promenade des Anglais which left 86 dead. Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, a 31-year-old Tunisian, had mowed down behind the wheel of a rental truck children, large families and foreign tourists, in 4 minutes, before being shot by the police.

Attack on Avignon and the French Consulate 

A few hours after this attack in Nice, a man armed with a knife was killed by the police in Avignon (Vaucluse). According to information from Europe 1, the individual threatened passers-by and tried to attack them in the street, around 11:15 am. He would have shouted “Allah Akbar”, before being shot by the police.

Another attack also took place in Saudi Arabia this Thursday morning, where the French consulate was targeted.

According to a statement from the French Embassy in Saudi Arabia, a knife attack targeted a security guard, an employee of a security company.

“The assailant was apprehended by Saudi forces immediately after the attack,” said the consulate.

The guard was transferred to the hospital, “his days are not in danger,” the statement said.

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