Three people were killed by an attacker at a church in the French city of Nice on Thursday, in an incident the city’s mayor described as terrorism.
Mayor Christian Estrosi said on Twitter the knife attack had happened at the city’s Notre Dame church, and two of the victims died inside the church.
The attacker shouted “Allahu akbar!” repeatedly as police apprehended him, the mayor told reporters, adding that “the meaning of his gesture left no doubt.”
“Enough is enough,” Estrosi said. “It’s time now for France to exonerate itself from the laws of peace in order to definitively wipe out Islamo-fascism from our territory.”
Three people were confirmed to have died in the attack and several were injured, police said.
The French anti-terrorist prosecutor’s department said it had been asked to investigate the attack.
Following the attack, Prime Minister Jean Castex raised France’s security alert to its highest level and said the government’s response would be firm and implacable.
Within hours of the Nice attack, police killed a man who had threatened passersby with a handgun in Montfavet, near the southern French city of Avignon. He was also shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is greatest), according to radio station Europe 1.
In Saudi Arabia on Thursday, state television reported that a Saudi man had been arrested in the city of Jeddah after attacking and injuring a guard at the French consulate.
Earlier this week, France’s national police called for increased security at religious sites around the All Saint’s holiday this coming weekend.
On Tuesday, the areas around the Arc de Triomphe and Eiffel Tower in central Paris were briefly evacuated after a bag filled with ammunition was discovered.
The terrorist threat remains “very high,“ Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said on Tuesday, ”because we have a lot of enemies from within and outside the country.”
The French Foreign Ministry issued safety advice on Tuesday to French citizens currently in Indonesia, Bangladesh, Iraq, and Mauritania, urging them to exercise caution, stay away from protests, and avoid public gatherings.
The caricatures of Muhammad have been widely displayed at marches in solidarity with a French history teacher, who was murdered by an 18-year-old Islamic terrorist on Oct. 16.
Pakistan’s Prime Minister Imran Khan also hit out at Macron for “attacking Islam,” and called on Facebook to ban “Islamophobic” content.
Meanwhile, Islamic terrorist groups ranging from the Taliban in Afghanistan to Hezbollah in Lebanon have condemned Macron’s defense of the Muhammad cartoons.
The publication or display of images of Muhammad, which Muslims see as blasphemy, has triggered several terrorist attacks in France.
After cartoons depicting Muhammad were published by French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, its editorial offices were attacked in 2015 by gunmen who killed 12 people.