At least three people were killed in an attack with a knife by a man in a church in the French city of Nice. The mayor says that one victim has been beheaded and speaks of an act of terrorism.

The attack happened around 9:00 am this morning. The man attacked people in the Notre-Dame Basilica in the center of the city. 

French media report that the perpetrator has been arrested. He was shot by officers during his arrest. During his action he kept shouting the words ‘Allahu akbar’ (‘God is great’ in Arabic). The man was seriously injured and taken to hospital. He would be in danger.

Christian Estrosi, the mayor of Nice, confirms the arrest. According to him, everything indicates that it is an act of terrorism, he reports on Twitter. He told French BFM TV that the first investigation by the police shows that a woman has been decapitated. “We can’t say anything about the other victims at the moment.”

One of the fatalities is a caretaker of the church, who, according to Estrosi, was “much appreciated” by the churchgoers. The mayor also calls for unity in the city. 

The police say that the situation in the city is now ‘under control’. The investigation into the perpetrator’s motives has been opened.

There has been a tense atmosphere in France recently. This is a result of the murder of Samuel Paty, a 47-year-old teacher who showed cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed to students in a lesson. He was beheaded on October 16 by an extremist Muslim near the school where he worked in Paris.

Afterwards, the French took to the streets en masse to pay tribute and show their horror. The murder also caused a lot in other countries. Moreover, the murder of Paty was not the first Islamic attack in France this year. For example, another attack with a knife was carried out in September at the old office of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, which was also the target of a bloody attack in January 2015 that killed 12 people.