Three members of a church in France are killed by an Islamic terrorist.
French President Emmanuel Macron has declared the country under attack after a male suspect with a knife stabbed to death three people in an attack at the Basilica of Notre-Dame in Nice in southern France. The suspect, a Tunisian national born in 1999 and who carried an Italian Red Cross document, has been arrested. Macron said the incident is being considered an Islamist terrorist attack.
According to incident reports, “At around 9am on Thursday, a man wielding a knife killed three people and injured several others at a church in central Nice. Two of the victims were killed inside the church and a third victim died while seeking help in a nearby bar.” The assailant was shot by police and taken to hospital.
The attack happened shortly after the beheading of French teacher Samuel Paty, and Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi indicated it he it was an attempted copycat killing. “The methods match, without doubt, those used against the brave teacher in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine, Samuel Paty,” Estrosi said.
Speaking from Nice’s Notre-Dame church, Macron contended, “France is under attack by …terrorists. We are attacked over our values, for our taste for freedom, for the ability on our soil to have freedom of belief. And I say it with lots of clarity again today: we will not give any ground.”
The country received much support from U.S. and other world leaders.
“Our hearts are with the people of France,” President Donald Trump tweeted. “America stands with our oldest ally in this fight. These radical Islamic terrorist attacks must stop immediately. No country, France or otherwise can long put up with it!”
Politician Eric Ciotti added, “Thoughts for Vincent Loques, sacristan of the Notre-Dame basilica in Nice, cowardly murdered by a terrorist. He was extremely devoted to his church, I am thinking of his family, his relatives and the whole Catholic community.”
The Catholic Church in France said the Nice attack is an “unspeakable act” with the Conference of Bishops of France’s Nathalie Goulet stating, “Christians must not become a symbol to be destroyed. We need to try and improve our intelligence because it is almost impossible to stop this kind of unprecedented attack. France has been under attack today in Islamist incidents carried out by individuals who were not French nationals. There were not on our File S list. In Nice, the victims were slaughtered, almost beheaded. We need to take urgent action now to prevent more atrocities.”
Lebanese Prime Minister-designate, Saad Hariri, tweeted, “Terrorism has no religion, and all Muslims are called on to reject this criminal act that is not related to Islam or to the prophet of love.” Jordan’s Foreign Minister, Ayman Safadi, echoed, “We condemn the terrorist crime. Terrorism is a common enemy that has nothing to do with our joint human values and the great Islam and its values of peace and sanctity of life. We must all fight culture of hate that feeds it in all its forms and promotes respect for the other.”