France knife attack leaves at least three dead: police

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France knife attack

PARIS/NICE: French police said about France knife attack, at least three people were killed and several others wounded when a man wielding a knife went on a stabbing spree outside a church in Nice.

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.

Police managed to detain the attacker around 9am and France’s national anti-terror prosecutors confirmed having opened a murder inquiry. The situation “is now under control”, a spokeswoman said.

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.

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