UPDATE | France to deploy soldiers to protect key sites after 'terrorist' attack in Nice

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French members of the elite tactical police unit RAID enter to search the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Nice as forensics officers wait after a knife attack.
French members of the elite tactical police unit RAID enter to search the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Nice as forensics officers wait after a knife attack.
Valery HACHE / AFP
  • France will deploy soldiers to protect key sites after a horror attack at a church.
  • An alleged extremist killed three people at the church.
  • France has raised its alert level to the highest.


French President Emmanuel Macron said on Thursday that he would be stepping up the deployment of soldiers to protect key French sites, such as places of worship and schools, following the fatal knife attack in Nice earlier in the day.

France raised its alert to the highest level nationally on Thursday after a knife-wielding man killed three people at a church in the city of Nice in the third apparent jihadist attack in just over a month.

Prime Minister Jean Castex said Thursday's attack, in which at least one victim had their throat slit, was "as cowardly as it is barbaric" and told parliament he had decided to raise France's Vigipirate security alert system to the highest, "attack emergency" level.

France's national anti-terror prosecutors said on Thursday they have opened a murder inquiry after a man killed three people , including one whose throat was slit, at a basilica in central Nice and wounded several others.

Nice's mayor, Christian Estrosi, told journalists at the scene that the assailant, detained shortly afterwards by police, "kept repeating 'Allahu Akbar' (God is Greater) even while under medication".

Meanwhile, the Vatican on Thursday condemned the attack that left three people dead at a church in Nice, France, saying terrorism and violence were never acceptable.

READ | Probe launched after man kills three at France church

"Today's attack sowed death in a place of love and consolation, the house of the Lord," spokesman Matteo Bruni said in a statement.

"It is a moment of pain in a time of confusion. Terrorism and violence can never be accepted." He said Pope Francis had been informed and was praying for the victims. The pope hoped the French people would "respond in a united way to evil with good."

- Additional reporting by Reuters

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