Three people were killed and several others injured in a knife attack in the southern French city of Nice on Thursday morning, according to the city’s mayor.
There were also reports of a man shot by police in Avignon who was reportedly threatening people in the street with a handgun. Separately, another knife attack was reported by the French consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, where an assailant attacked the building’s security guard but was arrested. The victim’s life is not in danger.
The Nice attack, which took place in and around a church, is being investigated as a potential act of terrorism, Le Monde reported. It comes two weeks after the beheading of French teacher Samuel Paty, who was killed days after he used cartoons of the prophet Muhammad in a class discussion about freedom of speech.
A suspect has been arrested, Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi said. He added that the attacker “kept repeating Allahu akbar.”
The first victim, a woman, had her throat cut inside the Notre Dame church in Nice’s city center, according to Le Monde. The second, a man, was fatally wounded with a knife. The third victim was killed in a bar in front of the church, where she had taken refuge.
French media also reported that in Avignon, southern France, police shot dead a man yelling “Allahu akbar” who was threatening passers-by with a handgun. Police sources told Agence France-Presse that “for the time being there are no Islamist indications.” There is no indication any of the attacks are connected.
After news of the Nice attack, French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Jean Castex — who was giving a speech in parliament at the time — headed into a crisis meeting. The parliament held a minute of silence.
Following the meeting, Macron headed to Nice, along with Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin, Justice Minister Eric Dupont-Moretti and the antiterrorism prosecutor Jean François Ricard, as well as Monseigneur de Moulin Beaufort, the president of the Conference of Bishops of France.
Nice has been the target of terrorists before, with an attacker linked to the so-called Islamic State killing 86 people on Bastille Day in 2016 and another knife-attack against armed forces in 2015.