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Woman Decapitated, Two Others Killed in Islamist Knife Attack in French Church

Security forces guard area after a reported knife attack at Notre Dame church in Nice, France, October 29, 2020 (Eric Gaillard/Reuters)

A woman was decapitated and two other people killed during a knife attack Thursday at a church in France that authorities are investigating as a terrorist attack.

The attack occurred near the Basilica of Notre-Dame in Nice, a city on France’s southern coast.

“The suspected knife attacker was shot by police while being detained, he is on his way to hospital, he is alive,” Mayor Christian Estrosi said, adding that the “terrorist” shouted “Allahu akbar,” which is Arabic for “God is great,” as police arrested him.

“The meaning of his gesture left no doubt,” Estrosi said. The woman who was “decapitated” and at least one of the other victims who died “in a horrible way” were inside the church, the mayor said.

Two other attacks occurred in France on Thursday. A Saudi man was arrested after he attacked a guard with a sharp tool at the French consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, according to Saudi state media. The guard was hospitalized and suffered minor injuries.

The French embassy in Saudi Arabia called the attack “flagrant” and said it trusts Saudi authorities to “reveal the circumstances behind the attack, as well as to ensure the security of French property and the French community in Saudi Arabia.”

Meanwhile, an individual in the French city of Avignon wielded a knife and threatened people passing by while shouting “Allahu akbar” until police fatally shot the suspect.

Earlier this month, Samuel Paty, a 47-year-old history teacher, was beheaded in a Paris suburb by an 18-year-old Moscow-born Chechen immigrant who was angered by Paty showing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad to his class.

France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office has initiated an investigation into the Nice attack.

“Enough is enough,” Estrosi said. “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.”

French President Emmanuel Macron plans to travel to Nice on Thursday after attending a crisis meeting at the Interior Ministry.

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