Nice attacker is Tunisian, entered France from Italy, had Quran copy on him: Official

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France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor says the man who killed three in a Nice church was a Tunisian aged about 20 who entered France from Italy, and was carrying a copy of Islam’s Holy Quran, on him at the time of the attack.

Jean-Francois Ricard told a press conference late Thursday that the man arrived in Italy by reaching the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa on September 20, and traveled to Paris on October 9.

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The travel information came from a document on the man from the Italian Red Cross, Ricard said. The attacker was seriously wounded by police, who fired at least 14 bullets at him, and is being treated in a hospital.

Ricard added that the attacker was not on the radar of intelligence agencies as a potential threat.

Police officers stand guard by the Notre-Dame de l'Assomption Basilica in Nice on October 29, 2020. (AFP)
Police officers stand guard by the Notre-Dame de l'Assomption Basilica in Nice on October 29, 2020. (AFP)

He detailed the gruesome scene inside the church where a man and woman were killed by the attacker. The third victim, a 44-year-old woman who managed to flee, died at a nearby restaurant.

A 60-year-old woman whose body was found at the entry of the church, suffered “a very deep throat slitting, like a decapitation,” Ricard said. The 55-year-old man also died after deep cuts to his throat.

An investigation was opened for murder and attempted murder in connection with a terrorist enterprise, a common term for such crimes.

A copy of the Quran and two telephones were among the things found on the attacker. Also found was the knife used in the attack, with a 17-centimeter (6.7-inch) blade, Ricard said. A bag with the attacker’s personal affairs was found to contain another two unused knives.

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