At least three people have been killed and several others have been injured in a deadly knife attack in Nice in France, reports have said. One of the three killed, a woman, has reportedly been decapitated. Authorities are treating this incident as a terror attack, reports said, and France's anti-terrorism prosecutor's department has launched an investigation into the attack.
Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi said the suspect behind the attack had been arrested. Estrosi said it appeared that the incident had been a terrorist attack on the city's Basilica of Notre-Dame.
"I ask the people of Nice to avoid the area to let the police and the emergency services work," wrote Estrosi. Speaking to reporters, the mayor said the man suspected of carrying out the attack had been shouting "Allahu Akbar" (God is great) after his arrest. He added that French President Emmanuel Macron would be arriving in the city.
The individual, who was shot and injured by police, left "no doubt... about the meaning of his action," Estrosi said. He added that the victims had been killed "in a horrible way."
Je suis sur place avec la @PoliceNat06 et la @pmdenice qui a interpellÃ© lâ€™auteur de lâ€™attaque. Je confirme que tout laisse supposer Ã un attentat terroriste au sein de la basilique Notre-Dame de #Nice06. pic.twitter.com/VmpDqRwzB1â€” Christian Estrosi (@cestrosi) October 29, 2020
French broadcaster Europe 1 reported that a man had attacked several people and that the fatalities included a woman who had been decapitated. Two of the victims are believed to have died in the church while another escaped but later succumbed to injuries they had sustained. It is believed that the attacker was acting alone and police are not thought to be searching for other assailants.
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said a police operation was underway and that he would be chairing a crisis meeting. France's anti-terrorism prosecutor's department said it was investigating the attack.
Thursday's incident took place less than a kilometer (just over half a mile) from the site where an attacker in 2016 plowed a truck into a Bastille Day crowd, killing dozens.
The attack comes with the country still reeling from the beheading of a middle school teacher, Samuel Paty, earlier this month in Paris by a man of Chechen origin.
(With inputs from DW)