Jihadist knifeman beheaded two people, an elderly female parishioner and a male church warden, fatally stabbed a second woman and wounded others before being shot and arrested by police
The suspect is identified as was identified as a 21-year-old Tunisian visitor, Brahim Aouissaoui
Aouissaoui who arrived the French city of Lampedusa, at the end of September allegedly told police that he acted alone and would admit to the crime, without giving further details
Two hours later a man armed with a handgun and threatening people on the streets was shot and killed by cops in Avignon
The gunman was a psychiatric patient undergoing treatment, police later clarified, debunking earlier reports that he was shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’
A guard at the French consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, was also stabbed and wounded by a knifeman today
Attacks come after French president Emmanuel Macron sparked fury by defending cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed
Sunni Muslims mark the Prophet’s birthday today
France has been struck by two terror attacks within hours of each other as three people were killed in an attack inside one of the main catholic churches in the country.
The Jihadist killed three worshipers inside the Notre Dame basilica in Nice, decapitating two of the victims. The killings were happening as police in Avignon shot dead a gunman screaming and threatening passers by.
The first attack began around 9am at the famous Notre Dame basilica in Nice.
The knife wielding man beheaded an elderly female parishioner and a male church warden, fatally stabbed a second woman, wounded several others before he was shot and arrested by police.
The terrorist first attacked a woman in her seventies coming early to pray. Shed was found ‘almost beheaded’ close to the church font.
Next the killer attacked Vincent L, a 45-year-old sacristan, who was also beheaded. A third victim, an African immigrant in her 30s , was then stabbed ‘multiple times’ and managed to flee to a bar across the street, where she died.
The rampage stopped around 9 am when police arrived. Police arrested the killer, who was taken to hospital following a gunshot wound.
He was identified as a 21-year-old Tunisian visitor, Brahim Aouissaoui, who landed in late September on the Italian island of Lampedusa, where he was placed in virus quarantine by authorities before being released with an order to quit Italian territory.
He allegedly told police that he acted alone and would admit to the crime, without giving further details.
An elderly woman who had come to the church early to pray was the first to be beheaded before a male church warden was also killed. A third woman was then stabbed multiple times, ran across the street, and died of her injuries.
Police who stormed the basilica said the body of the first woman was found close to the font inside the church.
Two hours later, a gunman threatened people on the streets of Avignon – 120 miles from Nice, a man armed with a handgun began threatening people in the Montfavet around 11.15am, France1 reported.
The man brandishing a handgun was killed in the Montfavet district of Avignon Thursday, around 11:15 am
Police rushed to the scene and confronted the man, who refused to drop his weapon. Cops shot the man with a Taser, which failed to stop him before he was stopped with live ammunition.
Although it was initially reported that the man was shouting “Allah Akbar”, police corrected the report stating that no religious claims were made. “We are more dealing with the gesture of an unbalanced,” the prosecutor announced.
The man reportedly, was under psychiatric treatment and made inconsistent comments. “It is a matter of common law, the anti-terrorist prosecution has excluded its jurisdiction,” the prosecutor said.
The investigation was therefore entrusted to the judicial police.
Police swarmed the area around the basilica about 9 am, running into the church before the attacker was shot and arrested.
French president Emmanuel Macron also visited the scene of the attack, where he spoke with paramedics and police officers.
French anti-terror investigators have announced they are leading the probe into the attack in Nice, but have not yet taken up the investigation in Avignon.
In Saudi Arabia, a security guard at the French consulate in Jeddah, was stabbed and wounded. Meanwhile in Saudi Arabia, a man was arrested after stabbing a guard at the French consulate with ‘a sharp tool’. The attacker was arrested while the guard was taken to hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
France’s embassy in Riyadh condemned the ‘attack on diplomatic premises which can never be justified’.
The attacks come amid fury across the Islamic world at President Macron for defending satirical cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed, and on the day that Sunni Muslims mark the Prophet’s birthday.
It also comes less than two weeks after schoolteacher, Samuel Paty, was beheaded north of Paris for showing cartoons of the Prophet to his class in a lesson on free speech.
Police said that ‘several’ people were also wounded in the Notre Dame attack, but an exact number was not given. The Jihadist, a male in his 20s, gave his name as Brahim while being arrested, Le Figaro reported. His identity is being checked by police.
Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi said the attacker ‘kept shouting Allahu Akbar even after being medicated’, and that ‘the meaning of his gesture is not in doubt’.
‘Enough is enough,’ he said. ‘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.’
Estrosi said the victims had been killed in a ‘horrible way’. ‘The methods match, without doubt, those used against the brave teacher in Conflans Sainte Honorine, Samuel Paty,’ he said.
He also called for churches around France to be given extra protection or closed as a precaution.
French diplomats also called on Saudi authorities to ‘shed light on this attack’ and ensure the safety of French people in the kingdom.
‘We call on our colleagues in Saudi Arabia to show maximum vigilance,’ the embassy said after Saudi security forces apprehended the suspect, who is said to be a Saudi national in his 40s.
The Nice attack happened less than half a mile from where another attacker plowed a truck into a Bastille Day crowd in 2016, killing dozens.
Emmanuel Macron led an emergency cabinet meeting on the attack before leaving for Nice, where he is expected to arrive shortly.
French politicians were taking part in a debate on the country’s new coronavirus restrictions when news of the attack reached them.
They observed a minute of silence before the debate broke up so an emergency security meeting could be held.
After the meeting, Prime Minister Jean Castex moved the threat level from ‘risk of attack’ to the ’emergency level’, meaning threats are imminent.
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.
The Catholic Church issued a statement, condemning the ‘unspeakable act’ and saying that ‘Christians must not become a symbol to be cut down.’
Catholic bishops in France called for all church bells to ring at 3pm in solidarity with the victims, before adding: ‘It is urgent that this gangrene be stopped as it is urgent that we find the indispensable fraternity which will hold us all upright in the face of these threats’