A woman in Nice, France, was beheaded Thursday, one of three people killed by a knife-wielding attacker inside a church, the police said.
The attack took place Thursday morning at the Notre Dame church. A police source speaking with the Reuters news agency said one of the three people killed had been decapitated. More were injured.
Christian Estrosi, the city’s mayor, said on Twitter that the suspect had been arrested and that one of the people killed was the church’s caretaker.
Estrosi also said the incident appeared to be terrorism.
Security forces guard the area after the knife attack in Nice.
“I confirm that everything suggests a terrorist attack in the Notre-Dame basilica,” he tweeted.
A source in French counterterrorism policing — who did not have permission to discuss the case publicly — told Insider the attacker shouted about cartoons before he attacked the victims at about 9 a.m.
The reference to cartoons follows the October 16 beheading of a teacher in Paris who had shown his class images depicting the Prophet Muhammad.
Estrosi spoke of the need to address what he called “Islamo-fascism.”
Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi gives a statement at the site of the knife attack in a church in Nice, France.
Twitter / @CESTROSI via REUTERS
He told reporters the suspect had “repeated endlessly ‘Allahu akbar’ when he was being treated at the scene,” the BBC reported.
The teacher killed in Paris was Samuel Paty. The incident was thought to be retaliation for showing his class depictions of the Prophet Muhammad in a class on free expression.
Images of Muhammad are considered blasphemous in Islam, and have prompted killings before.
French President Emmanuel Macron pledged to take a tough stance against radical Islam after the Paris attack.
A girl holds a banner with a picture of Samuel Paty, the French teacher who was beheaded Friday, during a tribute in Lille, France, October 18, 2020.
He said that Paty “was killed because Islamists want our future” but that France would “not give up our cartoons.”
A man with a knife was also killed by the police in Avignon, France, after threatening the police and reportedly shouting “Allahu akbar” on Thursday. It was not immediately clear whether this was connected to the Nice attack.
And a man “who attacked a security guard at the French Consulate with a sharp object” was also arrested in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, on Thursday, the Saudi government said.
October 16: Teacher Samuel Paty was decapitated in Paris after showing cartoons of the prophet Muhammad published by Charlie Hebdo magazine.
October 21: French President Emmanuel Macron said France would embrace free speech and not “renounce the caricatures.”
October 26: Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan accused Macron of having an “anti-Islam” agenda and called on people in Turkey to boycott French goods.
October 27: Charlie Hebdo published a cartoon depicting Erdogan lifting the dress of a veiled woman.
October 29: Three people were killed in a stabbing in Nice, a man with a knife was killed by police in Avignon, and a man tried to attack a security guard in the French Consulate in Saudi Arabia.