World 3 dead in 'terrorist' knife attack in French church, second beheading in two weeks
4 French students have been detained after a teacher who showed cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad was beheaded
The four are suspected of helping Samuel Paty's killer identify him in exchange for cash, Agence France-Presse reported.Samuel Paty, a 47-year-old history teacher, was killed near his school in the northwestern Paris suburb of Conflans-Sainte-Honorine on Friday afternoon. Witnesses said the attacker shouted "Allahu akbar," or "God is the greatest," as he attacked Paty with a kitchen knife.
Three people were killed at a church in the city of Nice, an attack that the city’s mayor says is an act of terrorism.
It is the third attack in the nation in two months, taking place weeks after a French teacher was decapitated after showing caricatures of Islam’s prophet Muhammad in class.
They appear to be linked to an ongoing trial on the 2015 killings at Charlie Hebdo, the French satirical newspaper that published the controversial caricatures.
Samuel Paty: Secular France finds itself at a crossroads after attack on teacher
France was irrevocably changed by the Paris terror attacks of January 2015. Three days of violence began with a massacre at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which had previously published controversial cartoons depicting the Prophet Mohammed. They ended with a siege at a kosher supermarket. Seventeen people were killed and long-simmering tensions over secularism, Islamism and religious equality erupted into public view. Anti-immigration rhetoric targeting France's Muslim communities also became increasingly common. Since then, these divides have only worsened with further attacks and the subsequent fallout.
“The meaning of his gesture left no doubt,” said Christian Estrosi, Nice’s mayor, who stated that the killings were a "terrorist" attack.
One victim, according to a report by, was said by the mayor to be “virtually beheaded,” while another was stabbed with his throat slit. The third victim, who was wounded inside the church, was able to flee the scene and run to a local café where she succumbed to her injuries.
French president Emmanuel Macron was en route to the site of the attacks.
The attacker was wounded by police and detained, reported the BBC. Two police officials told the Associated Press that he acted independently, and that no other suspects are being sought after.
Separate, likely unrelated attacks took place in the same day near the southern French city of Avignon where a man was shot after threatening police, and in the Saudi city of Jiddah’s French embassy, where a guard was attacked.
France recalls ambassador from Turkey after Erdogan says Macron needs ‘mental’ treatment
The beheading of history teacher Samuel Paty has set off a national reckoning in France and aggravated tensions with Turkey. French Foreign Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said the country was withdrawing Ambassador Herve Magro from its NATO ally because of a “hateful and slanderous propaganda against France, testifying to a desire to stir up hatred against us and our heart” as well as “direct insults against the President of the Republic, expressed at the highest level of the Turkish state.
On Wednesday, Islamic State extremists issued a video calling for renewed attacks on France.
France’s prime minister Jean Castex said the country’s alert level has been elevated to “emergency” following the attack. The nation’s anti-terrorist prosecutor’s office has also launched an investigation into the killings.
United Kingdom prime minister Boris Johnson wrotethat he was "appalled" to hear of the attacks, in messages written in both English and French. "Our thoughts are with the victims and their families, and the UK stands steadfastly with France against terror and intolerance," he said. Leaders also expressed solidarity with France.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry, despite recent political tensions with France, strongly condemned the attack. “We stand in solidarity with the people of France against terror and violence,” the statement said.
Man shouting ‘Allahu akbar’ kills three outside French church, terrorism investigation opened
The attack comes less than two weeks after a gruesome beheading related to cartoons deemed sacrilegious to some Muslims. France's national anti-terrorist prosecutor announced it was opening an investigation for "assassination" and "attempted assassination," and French President Emmanuel Macron was heading to the scene, the Élysée Palace confirmed.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned Macron of anti-Muslim sentiment and posed questions about his mental fitness following a Charlie Hebdo illustration of Erdogan.
This attack took place less than a half-mile from Notre Dame Church, where an attacker drove into a crowd during a Bastille Day celebration.
Contributing: The Associated Press
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY:
France boosts its border controls after terrorist attacks .
PARIS (AP) — French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday that France is reinforcing its border controls after a series of terrorist attacks that hit the country in recent weeks. Macron said the number of police and troops in charge of border controls will double from 2,400 now to 4,800. They will focus on fighting illegal immigration and smuggling activities, he said, during a visit to a frontier post in Le Perthus, at the border with Spain.