Suspect of Nice, France killings came to country from Italy
The suspect of the attack in Nice, France, that left three people dead on Thursday came into the country from Italy, prosecutors said Thursday.
French prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard said in a press conference that the suspect was born in Tunisia and arrived in Italy on Sept. 20, and went to Paris on Oct. 9, according to The Associated Press. He had a copy of the Quran and a bag with two unused knives.
Another bag with his belongings also had two knives, AP reported Ricard saying. The attacker was not known to be a potential threat.
The attacker killed three people before he was wounded and taken into custody after a confrontation with police outside Nice’s Notre Dame Church, which is less than a mile from the location of a 2016 truck attack that killed dozens of people.
“He cried ‘Allah Akbar!’ over and over, even after he was injured,” Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi said, referring to the attacker. “The meaning of his gesture left no doubt.”
Police said one elderly victim was “nearly beheaded,” according to the BBC. Two other people were attacked inside the church and a third person was mortally wounded just outside the building.
After the killings Thursday, French President Emmanuel Macron announced that he was sending 7,000 troops to protect schools and religious sites. AP reported that the French government raised its security alert status to the highest threat level, with Macron saying he would double the 3,000 troops currently deployed.
The Vatican also condemned the attack saying that “terrorism and violence can never be accepted.”
The attack is the third attributed to Muslim extremists since the trial began for those connected to the 2015 attacks at French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo.
A French middle school teacher was beheaded earlier this month after showing his class caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.