Valery Hache/AFP via Getty Images
A man used a knife to attack people at the Notre Dame Basilica in Nice, France, Thursday, killing three people, authorities say. Several more were injured. Police have arrested a suspect, according to Mayor Christian Estrosi.
Two people were killed inside the church, and another died outside it, according to local media reports. The victims are reportedly two men and a woman.
“I send all my support and all my compassion to the families of the victims of this barbarian,” Estrosi said.
The mayor called the attack on the church an attack on the Christian world. He said he discussed the violence with French President Emmanuel Macron by phone, who extended his condolences.
“The attacker kept repeating ‘Allahu Akbar’ (God is Great) even while under medication,” Estrosi said in a media briefing outside the church, according to Radio France Internationale.
The mayor also criticized France’s laws, saying they’re not sufficient to deal with what he called “Islamo-fascism.”
The French government has raised its Vigipirate security alert system to emergency levels across the country, Prime Minister Jean Castex announced after the attack.
“The knife attack comes two weeks to the day of the beheading of a French school teacher in a town north of Paris,” NPR’s Eleanor Beardsley reports for our Newscast unit. “The killer in that attack was shot dead by police. He was an 18-year-old radicalized Chechen refugee who was angry that the teacher had shown caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in his class on freedom of speech.”