PARIS:____ A knife attack in the French city of Nice left at least three people dead and multiple others injured, police said Thursday, after a man wielding a knife went on a stabbing spree outside a church.
Authorities had initially confirmed two dead but a police source said a third person had also succumbed to their wounds. The assailant slit the throat of one of his victims before police apprehended him.
Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi told journalists near the basilica that the assailant kept repeating the same words “even while under medication”.
“I can confirm everything lets us think this was a terror attack in the Notre-Dame Basilica”, he said on Twitter.
French President Emmanuel Macron would be arriving shortly in Nice, Estrosi added.
Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin called an emergency meeting, urging people to avoid the crime scene where a “police operation” was in progress.
France has been on high alert for terror attacks since the January 15 massacre at the satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo, with the trial of suspected accomplices in that attack currently underway in Paris.
A wave of extremist attacks on French soil, often by so-called “lone wolf” assailants, has killed more than 250 people since 2015.
The assault prompted lawmakers in parliament to hold a minute of silence, before Prime Minister Jean Castex and other ministers abruptly left for an emergency meeting with President Emmanuel Macron.