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In the aftermath of the attack which struck the city of Nice, the investigation progressed and the identity of the aggressor became clearer. Here is what we know, Friday, about this knife attack which left three dead.
Three people were killed on Thursday, October 29, in a knife attack at the Notre-Dame-de-l’Assomption basilica in Nice. The attacker is a young Tunisian who recently landed in Europe.
Here is what we know:
At 8:29 am, the perpetrator “entered the basilica and stayed there for a little less than half an hour, during which time he attacked three victims,” said the national anti-terrorism prosecutor Jean-François Ricard , during a press conference on Thursday evening.
At 8:54 a.m., one of the victims, a Brazilian woman, succumbed to her injuries after fleeing. Alerted by a witness, the municipal police intervene and find themselves facing the killer.
“This man had advanced threateningly towards them shouting ‘Allah Akbar’, then forcing them to use first an electric pulse pistol and then fire several times with their service weapon,” he said. reported Jean-François Ricard. The suspect, seriously injured, is taken to the Pasteur hospital.
The first victim, found near the main entrance, “is 60 years old, she has a very deep throat cut on the order of beheading,” reported the prosecutor.
The assailant then fatally slaughtered the sacristan. Vincent Loquès, who would have been 55 on Friday, was the father of two daughters.
The third victim is “a 44-year-old Brazilian Simone Barreto Silva, mother of three children living in France” according to the Brazilian Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
The alleged perpetrator of the attack, a 21-year-old Tunisian, has been identified by an Italian Red Cross document.
According to the French anti-terrorism prosecutor and a source at the Italian Interior Ministry, he arrived in Europe illegally via the Italian island of Lampedusa on September 20. He would have landed on the continent, in Bari, in southern Italy, on October 9, explained Jean-François Ricard. He would then have received an order to leave Italian territory within seven days, according to the Italian source.
Tunisian justice, which also opened an investigation, said he had a criminal record of common law, violence and drugs.
According to the Minister of the Interior, Gérald Darmanin, the attacker did not apply for a residence permit or a residence permit in France. It is also “unknown to the national file of fingerprints” and “unknown to the intelligence services”, according to Jean-François Ricard.
Coming from a large and modest family in Sfax (central Tunisia), the young man, repairer of motorcycles according to his mother, had been praying for two and a half years. “He did not go out and communicate with others,” she told AFP.
Nice attack: the terrorist’s journey
- Where is the investigation?
The French anti-terrorist prosecution has opened an investigation for “assassinations and attempted assassinations in connection with a terrorist enterprise” and “criminal terrorist criminal association”, coordinated by the Anti-terrorism Sub-Directorate (Sdat).
On the spot, investigators found the murder weapon, a knife with a 17 cm blade, according to Jean-François Ricard.
A bag of personal effects, a Koran and two phones, as well as two unused knives were also found, he added. Both of these phones are in operation.
“His deep motivations, the possible maturity of his project are still unknown to us,” another source close to the investigation told AFP on Friday.
On Thursday, a 47-year-old man suspected of having been in contact with the assailant was taken into custody, a judicial source was told Friday, but “he would not have any connection with the attack “, then indicated a source close to the investigation.
A second man in contact with the perpetrator of the attack was arrested and placed in police custody on Friday, we learned from a judicial source, confirming information from France Info.
The 35-year-old man is suspected of “having rubbed shoulders with the perpetrator the day before the attack, as the first” suspect. He was arrested between 6 p.m. and 7 p.m. in Nice, according to the judicial source and a source close to the investigation.