Accused killer's puzzling phone call to family before attack

Yahoo News Staff
·2-min read

The man accused of beheading a woman and killing two other people in a church in Nice, France, reportedly made a disturbing phone call to his family beforehand.

Suspected killer Brahim Aouissaoui, 21, arrived in Europe on September 20 in Lampedusa, an Italian island off Tunisia, where he lived with his family.

He then entered France by train early on Thursday morning (local time) and made his way to the church, where he allegedly stabbed and killed the 55-year-old sexton and beheaded a 60-year-old woman.

He also allegedly stabbed a 44-year-old woman, who fled to a nearby cafe where she raised the alarm before dying.

A makeshift memorial to the victims of the knife attack at the entrance of the Notre Dame Basilica church in Nice, France. Source: AAP
A makeshift memorial to the victims of the knife attack at the entrance of the Notre Dame Basilica church in Nice, France. Source: AAP

Police then arrived and confronted the alleged attacker, who was shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest), and shot and wounded him. He is now in hospital in a critical condition.

Just hours before the attack unfolded, Aouissaoui video called family members in Tunisia, who expressed confusion over why he had fled to France.

His sister Afef told Sky News he had shown his family the area and indicated he would sleep in a building opposite Basilica of Notre-Dame - where the events unfolded.

She said they instantly recognised the church in news reports from her earlier conversation with her brother.

His mum Gamra Issawi told the publication that when Aouissaoui called, she asked him why he had travelled to France and not stayed in Italy where he had been previously.

Brahim Aouissaoui holding a card with the number 104 on it while smiling.
Brahim Aouissaoui is accused of killing two people and beheading a third in a gory terror attack. Source: AAP

“He called me yesterday and told me that he had arrived in France, and I answered him, 'Why? Why did you not stay in Italy? You don't speak French and you don't know anyone there – no link, no relationship. Why did you do that (travelling to France)?’,” she said.

His brother described him a “friendly person” who had “never showed extremism” and respected other people for their differences from a young age, according to Sky News.

France, with Europe's largest Muslim community, has suffered a string of Islamist militant attacks in recent years, including bombings and shootings in 2015 in Paris that killed 130 people and a 2016 attack in Nice in which a militant drove a truck through a seafront crowd celebrating Bastille Day, killing 86.

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