The Islamist terrorist who shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ as he beheaded a woman and killed two others in an attack on a Catholic church in France today has been pictured.
Brahim Aoussaoui, a 21-year-old Tunisian who arrived in Europe on a migrant boat just last month, attacked worshippers with a 12-inch blade in the Notre Dame basilica in Nice, slitting the throat of an elderly woman near the church’s holy water in a beheading attempt.
He hacked sacristan Vincent Loques, a 54-year-old father-of-two, to death as he prepared for the first Mass of the day, while a mother in her forties also succumbed to her injuries after seeking refuge in a nearby bar after telling paramedics: ‘Tell my children that I love them’.
The assailant was shot 14 times by armed police as he screamed ‘God is greatest’ in Arabic during the attack and ‘while under medication’ as he was taken to hospital, Nice’s Mayor Christian Estrosi said.
Aoussaoui arrived in Nice at around 6.30am via the railway station, where he quickly changed his clothes, Jean-Francois Ricard told journalists today. CCTV then showed him arriving in the church at 8.30am and staying there for nearly half an hour.
The assailant, born in Tunisia in 1999, entered Europe via the Italian island of Lampedusa on September 20 and arrived in Paris on October 9. The travel information came from a document on Aoussaoui from the Italian Red Cross, the state prosecutor said.
Investigators found two unused knives, a Koran and two mobile phones, in addition to a bag with some personal effects. He was unknown to French security services, Mr Ricard told a press conference.
A picture showing Aoussaoui bleeding on the floor and being treated by paramedics after he was shot by armed police outside the basilica was tweeted by the head of the respected SITE organisation.
Tonight mourners attended vigils to pay tribute to the victims of the triple killing. They lit candles outside the Notre-Dame de l’Assomption Basilica in Nice and in front of the French Embassy in Berlin.