Two people have been decapitated and a third person has died in a suspected terror attack in the south of France.
The mass stabbing happened at the Notre-Dame basilica in Nice at around 9am just as morning mass had just started, with several others injured.
The alleged perpetrator was promptly arrested, according to reports.
Two of the victims – a man and a woman – had been beheaded, according to a police spokesperson.
French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin said a huge police operation is now underway and confirmed he will chair a crisis meeting.
The city’s mayor, Christian Estrosi, has suggested that the attack was due to terrorism.
He said: “I am on site with the [police] who arrested the perpetrator of the attack.
“I confirm that everything suggests a terrorist attack in the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Nice.”
Pictures from the scene show the area around the church almost completely empty as armed police set up a major cordon.
The Notre Dame Basilica is a Roman Catholic church and is the largest place of worship in Nice.
The attack comes while France is still reeling from the beheading earlier this month of French middle school teacher Samuel Paty by a man of Chechen origin.
The attacker had said he wanted to punish Paty for showing pupils cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in a civics lesson.
It was not immediately clear what the motive was for the Nice attack, or if there was any connection to the cartoons, which Muslims consider to be blasphemous.
Since Paty’s killing, French officials – backed by many ordinary citizens – have re-asserted the right to display the cartoons, and the images have been widely displayed at marches in solidarity with the killed teacher.
That has prompted an outpouring of anger in parts of the Muslim world, with some governments accusing French leader Emmanuel Macron of pursuing an anti-Islam agenda.
In 2016, 86 people were killed when a 19-tonne truck drove through the Nice promenade during the Bastille Day celebrations.
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