Three Dead in Terrorist Attack at French Basilica

Christian Estrosi, Nice’s mayor, said that the perpetrator, who was armed with a knife, was shot and arrested by the municipal police.

The Basilica of Notre-Dame de Nice in France.
The Basilica of Notre-Dame de Nice in France. (photo: Courtesy photo / Twitter/@cestrosi)

NICE, France — An attacker killed three people at a church in Nice and wounded others, police in the French city said Thursday. 

The incident took place at the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Nice Oct. 29 at around 9am local time, according to French media. 

Christian Estrosi, Nice’s mayor, said that the perpetrator, who was armed with a knife, was shot and arrested by the municipal police.

He said in a video posted to Twitter that the attacker repeatedly shouted "Allahu Akbar" during and after the attack.

The police have confirmed to that three people died in the attack and several were injured, according to Reuters.

Estrosi wrote on Twitter that two of the victims were killed inside the basilica. He paid tribute to the church’s guardian who he said was “so appreciated by the parishioners.”

In another tweet, he wrote: “I confirm that everything suggests a terrorist attack in the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Nice.”

The Bishop of Nice André Marceau said that all churches in Nice have been closed and will remain under police protection until further notice.

The bishop said that his emotion was strong after learning of the "heinous terrorist act" at the basilica, noting that it occured not long after the beheading of a Paris school teacher, Samuel Paty, in an Islamist terror attack earlier this month. 

"My sadness is infinite as a human being in the face of what other beings, called human, can do," Bishop Marceau said in a statement.

"May Christ's spirit of forgiveness prevail in the face of these barbaric acts," he said.

Cardinal Robert Sarah also responded to the news of the attack on the basilica. He wrote on Twitter: "Islamism is a monstrous fanaticism which must be fought with force and determination. ... Unfortunately, we Africans know this too well. The barbarians are always the enemies of peace. The West, today France, must understand this."

The basilica, completed in 1868, is the largest church in Nice, but is not the city’s cathedral.

Archbishop Éric de Moulins-Beaufort, president of the French bishops' conference, wrote on Twitter that he was praying for Catholics in Nice and for their bishop.

Estrosi said that he had spoken to Emmanuel Macron about the incident and that the French president would visit Nice late morning. 

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