(CNN)-At least three people were killed in a knife strike in the French coastal city of Nice. The local mayor called this a “terrorist” incident.
The attack took place in the church of Notre Dame de Paris on Thursday. Police sources told CNN that the victim included a woman with a split throat.
The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, earlier described the woman as “beheaded.”
Police sources told CNN that the other victim was a man who was stabbed to death many times. The third casualty was a woman who was injured in the church but managed to leave the scene. The source added that she died in a nearby cafe.
Esterosi said the assailant was shot by the police but was still alive and has been detained. The mayor said on Twitter on Thursday: “I was at the scene with the police who arrested the attacker. Everything points to a terrorist attack.”
Esterosi said the assailant repeated the word “Allahu Akbar” (“God is greater” in Arabic) while receiving medical treatment.
He added: “There is no doubt that the perpetrator of the attack…what was his intention.”
French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said that he is hosting a crisis meeting at the French Ministry of Foreign Affairs in response to the attack. The Elysée Palace said that President Emmanuel Macron will head to Nice after attending the meeting.
A spokesperson for the prosecutor’s office said that French anti-terrorism prosecutors have investigated the attack.
Estrosi told the French news channel BFMTV earlier: “According to the preliminary investigation results of the police, the woman in the church has been beheaded. We are currently unable to comment on the other victims.”
In the past, Nice has been the target of terrorist attacks. In 2016, dozens of people died after attackers inspired by ISIS drove a 20-ton truck into the Bastille Day crowd.
Eric Ciotti, a member of the French Parliament, represented Nice and surrounding areas in the National Assembly. He said that all of France was mourning on Thursday.
In a post on Twitter sharing a video of the church bell, he said: “Like a symbol, Notre Dame still rings. What is hit in Nice today is our country and its history.” Theotti added Said: “Islamic barbarism will never silence us!”
The attack happened a few weeks after the high school teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded in the terrorist attack in Paris.
In a previous course on freedom of speech, Paty was killed after showing a cartoon of the (controversial) Islamic prophet Muhammad.
Macron subsequently issued a strong defense of the principle of freedom of speech and stated that France will not “give up” the cartoons published in the satirical comic “Charlie Hebdo”.
These cartoons are regarded as blasphemous in Islam. Macron’s remarks aroused widespread anger in many Muslim-majority countries.
Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan criticized Macron, and retailers have called for a boycott of French goods in Kuwait, Qatar and Jordan.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry said on Thursday that Turkey “strongly condemns” the Nice attack. The Ministry of Health expressed condolences to the relatives of the victims in a statement.
The French Muslim Faith Committee strongly condemned Thursday’s attack and called on French Muslims to cancel Thursday’s Maoriid celebrations.
Some Muslims celebrated Morid to commemorate the birth of the Prophet Muhammad.
The council said: “I strongly condemn the terrorist attack near Notre Dame in Nice. As a sign of condolences and solidarity for the victims and their families, I call on French Muslims to cancel all Maori celebrations.” On its Twitter As indicated in the account’s post.
Saudi Arabia’s official media said that in another incident in Saudi Arabia on Thursday, a man was arrested after attacking a guard at the French consulate in Jeddah with auspicious tools.
The official media added that the guard suffered minor injuries and was taken to the hospital.
Politicians, officials and organizations across Europe condemned the Nice attack.
The President of the European Parliament David Sassoli said he was deeply saddened by the incident. He said on Twitter: “All of us feel this pain in Europe.”
“We have an obligation to unite against violence and those who try to incite and spread hatred.”
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez expressed “deep sympathy and solidarity” to those affected.
He said on Twitter: “We will continue to defend freedom, our democratic values, the peace and security of our citizens. Face terror and hatred, and unite.”
CNN’s Fanny Bobille contributed to this report.