Three people are dead and several others have been left wounded following a "suspected terror attack" at a church in Nice, France Thursday morning, according to French police and officials. The attack was carried out at the Notre Dame basilica, which is located less than a half-mile from the site of a 2016 attack in which dozens were killed after a truck plowed through a Bastille Day crowd.
NBC News reports that a man armed with a knife carried out the attack at around 9:10 a.m. local time (4:10 a.m. ET). A man and a woman were killed inside the church, Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi reported on Twitter. Estrosi told BFM TV that "according to the first findings of the police, the woman who was inside the church has been decapitated," CNN reports. A third victim, a woman, was killed after fleeing the scene and seeking refuge in a nearby café. She was said to be followed and killed. Several others have been injured, though the extent of their injuries is unknown.
The suspect was shot and taken to the hospital. Police believe that he was acting alone, though national and local police, as well as bomb squads, were at the scene to ensure no other threat. Police report that the incident is being treated as a terrorist attack, with Estrosi stating, "everything suggests this was a terrorist attack in the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Nice." The national anti-terrorist public prosecutor's department is now officially in control of the investigation.
French President Emmanuel Macron is set to travel to Nice on Thursday after participating in a crisis meeting at the Interior Ministry. The country's Prime Minister Jean Castex led lawmakers in a moment of silence at the National Assembly on Thursday morning.
Je suis sur place avec la @PoliceNat06 et la @pmdenice qui a interpellé l’auteur de l’attaque. Je confirme que tout laisse supposer à un attentat terroriste au sein de la basilique Notre-Dame de #Nice06. pic.twitter.com/VmpDqRwzB1— Christian Estrosi (@cestrosi) October 29, 2020
Thursday's attack marked the third such attack in two months in France and came less than two weeks after 47-year-old middle school teacher Samuel Paty was decapitated by an 18-year-old after showing his students caricatures of Islam's Prophet Muhammad. The attacker in that incident was shot and killed by police. The Associated Press reports that in September, a man who had sought asylum in France attacked bystanders outside Charlie Hebdo's former offices with a butcher knife.