A violent attack took place in the Notre-Dame de l’Assomption basilica, right in the center of the city of Nice in the South of France on Thursday around 9 AM, when, according to Reuters, a knife-wielding attacker was shouting “Allahu Akbar” as he beheaded a woman and killed two other people.
Several media outlets have also reported a decapitated woman and two other deceased victims, as well as several injuries, including one who is in serious condition.
Le Monde reported that “the national and municipal police intervened and the perpetrator was arrested.”
The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, called on residents to avoid the area of the attack, as places of worship are being secured throughout the city. French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin launched a crisis center, while Prime Minister Jean Castex has left the Assembly where he was this morning to join it.
President Emmanuel Macron is on hism way to the site of the attack in Nice.
The mayor of Nice has confirmed the decapitation of the woman, and added that a second victim “lost his life in the street, while she (the woman) was trying to take refuge in a nearby café.”
According to Le Monde, “The attacker was arrested 10 minutes later by the police, who had to open fire to control him.” He was injured during his arrest and was transported to the Pasteur hospital.
“The attacker did not stop repeating Allahu Akbar in front of us when he was being admitted,” said Mayor Estrosi to the press gathered outside the hospital.
The Basilica of Notre-Dame de Nice, built between 1864 and 1868, was built as part of an effort to frenchify the city after the County of Nice was annexed to France from Kingdom of Sardinia, and at the time Gothic buildings were supposed to be characteristically French. Its most prominent features are the two square towers 65 m high, which dominate the east front together with a large rose window featuring scenes of the Assumption of Mary.