The Latest: Merkel condemns Nice attack, vigil planned

PARIS (AP) — The Latest on a knife attack in Nice, France, (all times local):

1:45 p.m.

Officials across the political spectrum in Germany have condemned the attack in the southern French city of Nice, with some calling for a solidarity rally outside the French embassy.

Chancellor Angela Merkel said she was “deeply shaken by the terrible murders in a church in Nice,” adding that her thoughts were with the relatives and those injured.

She added: “The French nation has Germany’s solidarity in these difficult hours.”

An attacker armed with a knife killed three people in the southern French coastal city Thursday.

German Justice Minister Christine Lambrecht said in a statement that she was “shocked at the news of another terrible crime in France” and expressed her sympathy to the victims.

She added that if the attack is confirmed to be an Islamist terror attack, then it would be “an attack on our way of life and our core values.”

Social Democratic lawmaker Konstantin Kuhle called for people to gather for a minute’s silence later Thursday to commemorate recent victims of attacks in Paris, Dresden and Nice.

His call was backed by Berlin state official Sawsan Chebli, who encouraged fellow Muslims to participate and send a signal against what she described as “those Islamist monsters.”

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1:40 p.m.

France’s prime minister says the country is going on emergency alert after the killings of three people at Nice’s Notre Dame Basilica.

A man armed with a knife attacked two women and a man at the church Thursday morning, before he was shot by police. As he lay wounded, the Nice mayor said the attacker repeated “Allah Akbar” over and over. French authorities have opened a terrorism investigation.

Prime Minister Jean Castex told French lawmakers that the country would raise its alert level to “emergency” in response to the attack, which comes during high tensions over the republication of caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

The announcement came hours before France was to go into a one-month coronavirus lockdown.

Thursday’s attack was the third since a terrorism trial opened in the January 2015 attacks against Charlie Hebdo and a kosher supermarket.

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1:30 p.m.

Pope Francis is praying for the victims of the knife attack at a Roman Catholic basilica in the southern French city of Nice and for an end to all “terrorist” violence.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni says Francis was informed about Thursday’s attack at the Notre Dame Basilica and expressed his solidarity with the Catholic community in France.

In a statement, Bruni said the attack “sowed death in a place of love and consolation.”

He said Francis was praying for an end to such violence and “for people to look at each other again as brothers and sisters and not as enemies.”

An attacker armed with a knife killed three people. It was the third such attack in recent weeks following furor over caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that were republished by the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

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11:20 a.m.

An attacker armed with a knife has killed three people at a church in the southern French city of Nice.

It was the third attack in two months in France amid a growing furor over caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that were republished by the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

Other confrontations and attacks were reported Thursday in the southern city of Avignon and in the Saudi city of Jiddah, but it was not immediately clear if they were linked to the attack in Nice.

Thursday’s assailant in Nice was wounded by police and hospitalized after the killings at the Notre Dame Basilica, less than a kilometer (half-mile) from the site in 2016 where another attacker plowed a truck into a Bastille Day crowd, killing dozens of people.

Categories: International News