French policemen stand guard a street after a knife attack in Nice on October 29, 2020.
VALERY HACHE | AFP via Getty Images
A man armed with a knife on Thursday killed three people and wounded several others at a church in the southern French city of Nice, police have confirmed to NBC news.
The attack took place inside the city’s Notre Dame church at around 9:10 a.m. local time, 4:10 ET a.m. The suspect was injured by police and is now in hospital.
A man and a woman inside the church both died after being attacked with a knife, police confirmed to NBC news. The third victim, police said, was a woman who sought refuge in a cafe next to the church, but was followed and killed.
National and local police, as well as bomb squads, were at the scene to ensure no other threat.
Police said the incident was considered to be a terrorist attack. The national Anti-Terrorist Parquet is now officially in charge of the investigation.
Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi said via Twitter on Thursday that the suspect had been arrested, before adding the city had “paid too heavy a price in the same way as our country in recent years.”
Estrosi said French President Emmanuel Macron would visit the city later this morning.
France’s Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said he had chaired a crisis meeting at the Interior Ministry. He said a police operation was in progress and urged people to stay away from the area and follow the instructions.
The attack comes 13 days after French middle school teacher Samuel Paty, 47, was killed in Paris.
The history teacher was decapitated by an 18-year-old after showing his pupils caricatures of Islam’s Prophet Muhammad. The attacker was shot dead by police.
The attack provoked global condemnation, with demonstrators in France taking part in gatherings in support of freedom of speech.
Caricatures of Prophet Muhammad are considered blasphemous by Muslims.