NICE, France (Reuters) - A knife-wielding attacker shouting “Allahu Akbar” beheaded a woman and killed two other people in a suspected terrorist incident at a church in the French city of Nice on Thursday, police and officials said.
Nice’s mayor, Christian Estrosi, who described the attack as terrorism, said on Twitter it had happened in or near Notre Dame church, the largest in the city.
Estrosi said the attacker had repeatedly shouted the phrase “Allahu Akbar”, or God is greatest, even after he had been detained by police.
One of the people killed inside the church was believed to be the church warden, Estrosi said, adding that a woman had tried to escape from inside the church and had fled into a bar opposite the 19th century neo-Gothic building.
“The suspected knife attacker was shot by police while being detained, he is on his way to hospital, he is alive,” Estrosi told reporters.
“Enough is enough,” Estrosi said. “It’s time now for France to exonerate itself from the laws of peace in order to definitively wipe out Islamo-fascism from our territory.”
Reuters journalists at the scene said police armed with automatic weapons had put up a security cordon around the church, which is on Nice’s Jean Medecin avenue, the city’s main shopping thoroughfare. Ambulances and fire service vehicles were also at the scene.