One woman was decapitated and at least two others were killed in a church in France during what authorities have called a suspected terror attack.© Alexis Gilli French policemen stand next to Notre Dame church after a knife attack, in Nice, France, Thursday, Oct. 29, 2020. French anti-terrorism prosecutors are investigating a knife attack at a church in the Mediterranean city of Nice that killed two people and injured several others. (AP Photo/Alexis Gilli)
The deadly incident unfolded outside the Basilica of Notre-Dame in Nice around 9 a.m., local time on Thursday , ABC News reported.
“Thank you to our municipal police officers who arrested the author of the stabbing attack in the Notre Dame sector at #Nice06,” Mayor Christian Estrosi said in a tweet.
“I ask the people of Nice to avoid the area.”
The assailant was injured as officers attempted to take them into custody, about a half-mile from the site in 2016 where another attacker plowed a truck into a Bastille Day crowd, killing dozens.
Police sources told the Associated Press they believe the armed suspect was acting alone and that they are not looking for additional suspects.
Estrosi told reporters later Thursday morning everything pointed to a “terrorist attack at the heart of the Notre-Dame basilica.”
“He cried ‘Allah Akbar!’ over and over, even after he was injured,” he told BFM television. “The meaning of his gesture left no doubt.”
The Nice mayor during his television appearance confirmed three people had been killed, two inside the church and another who attempted to flee but later died from their injuries. One of the victims, Estrosi added, was the church’s caretaker.
Some people were also injured in the morning violence, though the total number is unclear as are the extent of their injuries.