France On Maximum Alert After Stabbing Attack in Nice Church
Story Code : 895048
President Emmanuel Macron announced increased surveillance of churches by France's Sentinelle military patrols, to be bolstered to 7,000 troops from 3,000.
Security at schools would also be boosted, he said.
Macron said deployment of soldiers would be stepped up on the entire French territory in parallel to boosting protection of places of worship including churches.
Macron also condoled with families of the victims, urging people of all religions to unite and not "give in to the spirit of division."
The development came after a knife-wielding assailant decapitated a woman and killed two other civilians in a in France’s southern port city of Nice, police and officials say, days after a French teacher was beheaded in a similar attack in Paris.
The deadly incident occurred at the Basilica of Notre-Dame at 9 a.m. local time on Thursday, said Nice’s mayor, Christian Estrosi, adding that the attack was similar to the beheading earlier this month near Paris of teacher Samuel Paty.
The history teacher, a French national, had used offensive cartoons of Prophet Muhammad [Peace be upon Him] in a civics class.
“The suspected knife attacker was shot by police while being detained. He is on his way to hospital, he is alive,” Estrosi told reporters, adding that one of the people killed at the church was believed to be the head of the church.
Police said in a statement that several other people were also wounded in the attack, which is being investigated.
A few hours after the attack police shot dead a man, who had threatened passersby with a handgun in Montfavet, near the southern French city of Avignon.
Following the deadly attack in Nice, Prime Minister Jean Castex raised France’s security alert to its highest, “attack emergency” level, vowing that the government’s response would be firm and implacable.
French lawmakers at the parliament also observed a minute’s silence in solidarity with the victims in Nice.