Attacker that killed 3 people in France’s Nice a 21-year-old Tunisian migrant: Report

The man suspected of killing three people at a church in the southern French city of Nice on Thursday is a 21-year-old Tunisian who arrived in Europe just a few weeks ago, sources close to the inquiry said.
A French soldier stands in front of Notre-Dame church, where a knife attack took place, in Nice, France October 29, 2020.(Reuters photo)
A French soldier stands in front of Notre-Dame church, where a knife attack took place, in Nice, France October 29, 2020.(Reuters photo)
Updated on Oct 29, 2020 11:54 PM IST
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Paris | ByAgence France-Presse & Reuters | Posted by Niyati Singh

The man suspected of killing three people at a church in the southern French city of Nice on Thursday is a 21-year-old Tunisian who arrived in Europe just a few weeks ago, sources close to the inquiry said.

The suspect, identified as Brahim Aoussaoui, landed in late September on the Italian island of Lampedusa, where he was placed in virus quarantine by authorities before being released with an order to quit Italian territory.

He arrived in France in early October, the sources said.

A knife-wielding attacker shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest) beheaded a woman and killed two other people in a church in the French city of Nice on Thursday.

A defiant President Emmanuel Macron, declaring that France had been subject to an Islamist terrorist attack, said he would deploy thousands more soldiers to protect important French sites, such as places of worship and schools.

Speaking from the scene, he said France had been 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.”

A police source told Reuters the assailant was believed by law enforcement to be a 21-year-old Tunisian national who had recently entered France from Italy.

Tunisia’s anti-terrorism court prosecutor began a forensic investigation into “the suspicion that a Tunisian committed a terrorist operation abroad”, Mohsen Dali, spokesman for the specialised counter-militancy court, said in Tunis.

In Saudi Arabia, meanwhile, state television reported that a Saudi man had been arrested in the Red Sea city of Jeddah after attacking and injuring a guard at the French consulate. The French Embassy said he was in hospital after a knife assault though his life was not in danger.

Within hours of the Nice attack, French police killed a man who had threatened passersby with a handgun in Montfavet, near the southern city of Avignon.

France’s Le Figaro newspaper quoted a prosecution source as saying the man was undergoing psychiatric treatment, and that they did not believe there was a terrorism motive.

Nice’s mayor, Christian Estrosi, said the attack in his city had happened at Notre Dame church and was similar to the beheading earlier this month near Paris of teacher Samuel Paty, who had used cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in a civics class.

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