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France investigates terror attack at church


A man prays outside the Notre Dame Basilica in Nice, France, on Thursday. Associated Press/Photo by Daniel Cole

France investigates terror attack at church

French authorities raised the country’s security alert status to the highest level in response to the third attack in two months attributed to Islamic extremists. A Thursday knifing at a church in Nice, France, left two women and a man dead. Police wounded the attacker, who has been hospitalized. Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi told BFM TV the attacker’s motives were clear: “He cried ‘Allah Akbar!’ over and over, even after he was injured.” The anti-terrorism prosecutor said the suspect was a Tunisian man around 20 years old who entered through Italy and carried a Quran during the attack. The country is set to go into renewed coronavirus lockdowns on Friday.

What’s going on? Tensions are increasing between France and the Muslim world after the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo republished controversial caricatures of Muhammad. The trial of suspects involved in a 2015 attack against the newspaper is nearly complete, with a verdict expected Nov. 13. Meanwhile, Muslim nations have called for a boycott against French products after President Emmanuel Macron defended the cartoons as free speech. The country saw other scattered confrontations on Thursday, but it’s unclear if they were connected to the attack in Nice. An attacker targeted the French Consulate in Jiddah, Saudi Arabia, as well. Macron said he is more than doubling the number of soldiers deployed to protect schools and religious sites to 7,000.

Dig Deeper: From the WORLD archives, read Janie B. Cheaney’s reflections on confronting Islamic terrorism after the Charlie Hebdo attacks in 2015.

Editor’s Note: WORLD has updated this report since its initial posting


Rachel Lynn Aldrich Rachel is an assistant editor for WORLD Digital. She is a Patrick Henry College and World Journalism Institute graduate. Rachel resides with her husband in Wheaton, Ill.

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