3 dead, several wounded in attack at French church

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PARIS — Three people were killed and several others injured in a knife attack in the southern French city of Nice, according to the city’s mayor.

The attack, which took place on Thursday morning in and around a church, is being investigated as a potential act of terrorism, Le Monde reported. It comes two weeks after the beheading of French teacher Samuel Paty.

A police operation was still underway as of late morning on Thursday but a suspect has been arrested, Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi said. He added that the attacker “kept repeating Allahu akbar.”

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The first victim, a woman, had her throat cut inside the Notre Dame church in Nice’s city center, according to Le Monde. The second, a man, was fatally wounded with a knife. The third victim was killed in a bar in front of the church, where she had taken refuge.

French President Emmanuel Macron and Prime Minister Jean Castex — who was giving a speech in parliament at the time of the attack — headed into a crisis meeting as the news broke. The parliament held a minute of silence.

Estrosi added that later on Thursday, Macron will travel to Nice. The city has been the target of terrorists before, with an attacker linked to the so-called Islamic State killing 86 people on Bastille Day in 2016.

Rym Momtaz contributed reporting.

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