French President Emmanuel Macron stood ground against terrorism after three people were killed in a knife attack in the city’s Notre-Dame Basilica in Nice.
Macron described Thursday’s incident as an “Islamist and terrorist madness”.
“Once again this morning, it was three of our compatriots that fell in Nice, and very clearly France is under attack,” he added.
A male suspect, named as Brahim Aioussaoi, was shot and detained, while anti-terror prosecutors have opened an investigation into the attack while the country’s national security alert has been raised to its highest level.
According to police sources, the 21-year-old Tunisian suspect arrived by boat on the Italian island of Lampedusa in September, and was placed in coronavirus quarantine there before being released and told to leave Italy.
The victims include a 45-year-old sacristan of the Notre Dame Basilica in the city of Nice named Vincent Loques, who was killed while he prepared for the first Mass of the day.
Two women also fell into Aoussaoui’s hands – one elderly parishioner who was beheaded and another who was fatally stabbed before running across the street where she died of her injuries.
Nice mayor Christian Estrosi said that Aoussaoui, “kept shouting Allahu Akbar even after being medicated.”
“I am on the scene with the police who arrested the attacker. Everything points to a terrorist attack,” the mayor posted on Twitter Thursday morning.
“There is no doubt that the perpetrator of the attack… what his intentions were.”
“Enough is enough,” Estrosi added, “It’s time now for France to exonerate itself from the laws of peace in order to definitively wipe out Islamo-fascism from our territory.”
The city had been a target of terror, as dozens died in 2016 after an ISIS-inspired attacker plowed a truck into Bastille Day crowds, which happened less than half a mile from the recent attacks.