The terror suspect in the horrific knife attack in France arrived in Nice by train, changed his clothes at the station and walked over to the nearby Notre Dame Basilica with a Quran and three knives, officials said.
France’s anti-terrorist prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard said Brahim Aouissaoui, 21, a Tunisian migrant who entered the country illegally via Italy, was unknown to security services, according to Sky News.
Surveillance cameras captured him entering the Nice train station, where he changed his shoes and turned his coat inside out before walking to the church, about 1,300 feet away, just before 8:30 a.m.
He was carrying an Italian Red Cross identity card and two phones, as well as a bag containing two unused knives. The blade used in the attack was 12 inches long, with a cutting edge of about 6.5 inches, Ricard said.
He spent about 30 minutes inside the church before police arrived through a side entrance and “after advancing down a corridor they came face-to-face with (the attacker) whom they neutralized,” Ricard said.
Aouissaoui had moved toward officers in a “threatening way,” shouting “Allahu Akbar” – “God is greatest” — before being shot and seriously wounded by the cops, who fired at least 14 bullets at him.
Police initially used an electric gun then fired their service revolvers, Ricard said.
A 60-year-old woman suffered “a very deep throat slitting, like a decapitation,” he said.
Vincent Loques, 55, a caretaker at the church, suffered deep, fatal throat cuts. The third victim, Simone Barreto Silva, 44, managed to flee the church alive but died at a nearby bar.
The three were killed “only because they were in the church at that moment,” Ricard said, adding that investigators are looking for potential complicity in the “complex” probe.
A 47-year-old man believed to have been in contact with the suspect has been detained for questioning, a judicial source said Friday, according to Agence France-Presse.
President Emmanuel Macron called the incident an “Islamist terrorist attack,” and the government has placed its terror alert at maximum ahead of the Catholic holiday of All Saints Day on Sunday.
Macron is holding an emergency meeting with top ministers on Friday.
With Post wires