Gun-wielding man shot dead in France just hours after Nice attack

Australian Associated Press
·4-min read

French police have shot dead a man in Montfavet, near the city of Avignon in southern France, after he had earlier threatened passersby with a handgun, police said.

According to French radio station Europe 1, the man had shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest).

The incident occurred just hours after a horrific knife attack in Nice, where one woman was beheaded and two others died of stab wounds.

It is believed the two attacks are unrelated.

A French soldier secures the site of a knife attack in Nice on October 29, 2020.
A French soldier secures the site of a knife attack in Nice. Source: Getty

Nice's mayor, Christian Estrosi, who described the attack in his city as terrorism, said on Twitter it had happened in or near Notre Dame church and was similar to the beheading of French teacher Samuel Paty in an attack this month in Paris.

Estrosi said the attacker had repeatedly shouted the phrase "Allahu Akbar", even after he had been detained by police.

One of the people killed inside the church was believed to be the church warden, Estrosi said, adding that a woman had tried to escape from inside the church and had fled into a bar opposite the 19th century neo-Gothic building

Though the attacker was shot by police, he is still alive and being detained in hospital.

French policemen stand guard the street leading to the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Nice after a knife attack in Nice on October 29, 2020. - France's national anti-terror prosecutors said Thursday they have opened a murder inquiry after a man killed three people at a basilica in central Nice and wounded several others. The city'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." He added that President Emmanuel Macron would be arriving shortly in Nice. (Photo by Valery HACHE / AFP) (Photo by VALERY HACHE/AFP via Getty Images)
French policemen redirect traffic in front of the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Nice after the suspected terror attack. Source: Getty

Attack at French consulate in Saudi Arabia

A third incident, this time at the French consulate in Saudi Arabia, has seen a security guard attacked by a Saudi man in the city of Jeddah.

The French Embassy 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 disturbing incidences come amid heightened tensions after an assailant earlier this month decapitated a French middle school teacher who showed caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad for a class on free speech.

String of violent attacks for France

Thursday’s attacks are the latest in a string of violent events that have marred the country in recent years.

Here are other attacks that have taken place in France over the past few years:

  • Two people were stabbed and wounded in Paris on September 25 this year near the former offices of the Charlie Hebdo satirical magazine, where Islamist militants carried out a deadly attack in 2015. A man originally from Pakistan was arrested over the attack.

  • October 3, 2019 - Mickael Harpon, a 45-year-old IT specialist with security clearance to work in the Paris police headquarters, killed three police officers and one civilian employee before being shot dead by police. He had converted to Islam about 10 years earlier.

  • March 23, 2018 - A gunman kills three people in southwestern France after holding up a car, firing on police and taking hostages in a supermarket, screaming "Allahu Akbar". Security forces storm the building and kill him.

  • July 26, 2016 - Two attackers kill a priest and seriously wound another hostage in a church in northern France before being shot dead by French police. Francois Hollande, who was France's president at the time, says the two hostage-takers had pledged allegiance to Islamic State.

  • July 14, 2016 - A gunman drives a heavy truck into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in the French city of Nice, killing 86 people and injuring scores more in an attack claimed by Islamic State. The attacker is identified as a Tunisian-born Frenchman.

File photo dated July 15, 2016 of torensics officers and policemen look for evidences in a truck on the Promenade des Anglais seafront in the French Riviera town of Nice, after it drove into a crowd, killing 84. France's national anti-terror prosecutors said Thursday they have opened a murder inquiry after a man killed three people at a basilica in central Nice and wounded several others on October 29, 2020. Photo by ABACAPRESS.COM.
A truck drove into a crowd on Bastille Day in Nice on July 15, 2016, killing 84 people. Source: AAP
  • June 14, 2016 - A Frenchman of Moroccan origin stabs a police commander to death outside his home in a Paris suburb and kills his partner, who also worked for the police. The attacker told police negotiators during a siege that he was answering an appeal by Islamic State.

  • November 13, 2015 - Paris is rocked by multiple, near simultaneous gun-and-bomb attacks on entertainment sites around the city, in which 130 people are killed and 368 are wounded. Islamic State says it was responsible for the attacks. Two of the 10 known perpetrators were Belgian citizens and three others were French.

  • January 7-9, 2015 - Two Islamist militants break into an editorial meeting of satirical weekly Charlie Hebdo on January 7 and rake it with bullets, killing 12 people. Another militant kills a policewoman the next day and takes hostages at a supermarket on January 9, killing four before police shoot him dead.

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