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France terror latest: Macron says ‘we won’t give in’ after Nice beheading attack and Avignon gunman death

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Sam Hancock,Jane Dalton
Thursday 29 October 2020 20:03 GMT
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Armed police enter church in Nice following multiple stabbings

France is reeling after a knife-wielding attacker shouting "Allahu Akbar" (God is Greatest) beheaded a woman and killed two other people in a church in the French city of Nice on Thursday.

President Emmanuel Macron, declaring that France had been subject to an Islamist terrorist attack, said he would deploy thousands more soldiers to protect important French sites, such as places of worship and schools. He said France had been attacked "over our values, for our taste for freedom, for the ability on our soil to have freedom of belief". "And I say it with lots of clarity again today: we will not give any ground." 

Mr Macron also tweeted: “In France, there is only one community - the national community,” and “Whatever your religion, believer or not, we must unite at these times.” He told the people of Nice: ”We won’t give in to any terrorist thinking."

Hours later, a man wielding a handgun was shot dead by police near Avignon, around 250km away. He is believed to have been a member of the far-right Génération identitaire movement.

Please see below for how our coverage unfolded.

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Hello, and welcome to The Independent’s rolling coverage of the terror attacks in France. 

Sam Hancock29 October 2020 11:19
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Woman decapitated and others killed in France knife attack

A woman was beheaded earlier today, and two others killed, in a knife attack at a church in Nice in southern France.

Several others were also injured in Thursday’s attack, which the city’s mayor, Christian Estrosi, said looked like a terrorist incident.

Police officials confirmed to The Independent that two women and one man were killed and all had their throats cut.

France’s anti-terrorist prosecutor's department has since been asked to investigate.

Zoe Tidman reports:

Woman decapitated and others killed in Nice stabbings

Police confirm to The Independent two women and one man killed

Sam Hancock29 October 2020 11:27
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Man shot dead in Avignon after threatening the public with a weapon

A man has been shot dead by police after threatening people with a weapon in a city in southern France.

The incident in Avignon happened on the same morning at least three people were killed in a church in Nice, whose mayor has described the knife attack as terrorism. 

Zoe Tidman has the latest:

Man shot dead in France after threatening public with weapon

The latest breaking news, comment and features from The Independent.

Sam Hancock29 October 2020 11:29
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Saudi citizen arrested in Jeddah for stabbing guard at French consulate

A Saudi man was arrested in Jeddah after attacking a guard with a “sharp tool” at the French consulate on Thursday, as France urged its citizens in the kingdom to be “on maximum alert”.

The French Embassy in Riyadh said the consulate was subject to an “attack by knife which targeted a guard”, adding the guard was taken to hospital and his life was not in danger. 

“The French embassy strongly condemns this attack against a diplomatic outpost which nothing could justify,” an embassy statement said.

Emily Goddard has the story:

Man attacks guard outside French consulate in Saudi Arabia

France urges its citizens in the kingdom to be ‘on maximum alert’

Sam Hancock29 October 2020 11:49
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French Embassy says guard’s ‘life is not in danger’

The French embassy have released a statement saying the guard in the Jeddah consulate attack has been hospitalised but his “life is not in danger”. 

"The assailant was apprehended by Saudi security forces immediately after the attack. The guard was taken to hospital and his life is not in danger," the embassy said in its statement.

Sam Hancock29 October 2020 11:52
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France raises security threat level to highest, PM says

France has raised the security alert for French territory to its highest level after the knife attack in the city of Nice, Jean Castex has announced.

Mr Castex also told French National Assembly that the government's response to the attack would be firm and implacable.

Sam Hancock29 October 2020 12:02
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Lizzie Dearden, The Independent's security correspondent, writes:

The wave of attacks coincided with international celebrations marking the Prophet Muhammad’s birthday.

Isis has called for international atrocities on days of religious significance in the past, particularly during the Islamic holy month of Ramadan.

A speech from its official spokesman distributed on 18 October incited supporters to carry out lone attacks against “crusaders” around the world.

Days later, Isis praised the terrorist killing of French teacher Samuel Paty in its weekly propaganda newspaper.

A long article praised his killer as a martyr and called for more attacks, repeating parts of the 2014 speech by former spokesman Abu Muhammad al-Adnani that said jihadis who could not travel to Isis territories should launch attacks in their home countries.

The article named France as a target several times and said supporters should “continue to incite jihad and to call for it” by translating and spreading Isis propaganda.

Paty was targeted because he had shown students Charlie Hebdo cartoons depicting the Prophet Muhammad during a class on free expression.

Al-Qaeda, whose supporters murdered 12 victims at Charlie Hebdo’s offices in 2015, also threatened attacks over the republication of the cartoons.

A propaganda magazine published on 11 September said the massacre was not a “one off” as the gunmen’s trial started in Paris.

The Afghan Taliban released a statement on Sunday attacking Emmanuel Macron’s response to the murder of Paty.

The terrorist group accused the French president of making “irresponsible remarks against Islam” and “assuming a stance that threatens international peace and inflames enmity and animosity among nations”.

Zoe Tidman29 October 2020 12:29
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Raab comments

Dominic Raab, the UK’s foreign secretary, said: 

Zoe Tidman29 October 2020 12:49
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Macron in Nice

The French president has landed in Nice and visited the scene of today’s attack at a church in the city centre.

Emmanuel Macron visits the scene of the Nice knife attack
Zoe Tidman29 October 2020 13:22
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Church

This is the church where the attack in Nice - which left at least three dead - happened.

The Notre-Dame basilica sits on the Jean Medecin avenue, the city's main shopping thoroughfare.

Police at the Notre-Dame church in Nice
Zoe Tidman29 October 2020 13:27

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