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Three people died in a knife-attack in Nice, France, on Thursday in what may be the third terror attack on French soil in about a month.
A man wielding a knife entered the Notre Dame Basilica in Nice and killed two people and fatally wounded a third who was able to escape outside the church before dying, according to French authorities. Police are treating the incident as an act of terrorism, according to The Wall Street Journal.
“Everything leads us to believe it was a terrorist attack within the Notre Dame basilica,” Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi said on Twitter.
Several French media outlets reported that at least one of the victims of the attack was beheaded, mirroring an attack earlier this month in which a French schoolteacher was beheaded by a suspected Islamic radical.
Police captured the attacker soon after the incident, shooting him in the shoulder and transporting him to a local hospital, according to The Guardian. Estrosi said that while the man was being taken into custody, he repeatedly yelled “Allahu Akbar.”
“We have two people killed inside the church … and a third person who was in a bar facing the church where she had taken refuge,” Estrosi said. “Enough is enough … we have to remove this Islamo-fascism from our territory.”
On Oct. 16, an 18-year-old man beheaded French history teacher Samuel Paty outside of the secondary school where he taught. Paty was killed after showing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammed to his class for a lesson on free expression.
“Before it was a school professor, this time the Islamo-fascist barbarism chose to attack inside a church. Again, it is very symbolic,” Estrosi said.
At the end of September, a suspected terrorist wielding a butcher’s knife seriously wounded two people outside of the former headquarters of the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in Paris. The Charlie Hebdo offices were targeted in a terror attack in 2015 in which gunman killed a dozen people. The magazine was targeted after publishing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammed, the same caricatures that Paty later used in his free-speech demonstration before he was killed two weeks ago.
The French government began cracking down on alleged Islamic extremists and groups in the wake of Paty’s death, and French President Emmanuel Macron has honored Paty as a martyr for French ideals.
Paty’s elevation has angered thousands across Muslim countries in the Middle East and Asia. Massive crowds of protesters in countries such as Bangladesh, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, and Iran have called to boycott France. The leaders of many Muslim-controlled countries have echoed those sentiments and accused the French government of religious bigotry for going after Islamic extremist groups.
“Macron needs mental treatment,” Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said over the weekend. “What is the problem of this person Macron with Muslims and Islam?”
France has been rocked by dozens of Islamic terror attacks in the past eight years, including two that killed over 200 people.