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Paris: International condemnations of the knife attack that killed three people and wounded others on Thursday at Notre Dame Church in Nice, southern France, continued to be condemned by the French counterterrorism prosecution.
A source close to the investigation confirmed that the attacker chanted “God is Great” while carrying out the attack.
The source added that the attacker, who was wounded in gunfire during his arrest, said that his name was “Ibrahim” and he was “25 years old.”
Here are the most prominent reactions:
Turkey strongly condemned the “brutal” attack, which came in light of the great tension between Ankara and Paris, against the backdrop of recent statements made by French President Emmanuel Macron in which he expressed his support for the freedom to depict the Prophet Muhammad in cartoons.
“We strongly condemn the attack carried out today inside Notre Dame Church in Nice, and we offer our condolences to the relatives of the victims,” the Turkish Foreign Ministry said in a statement.
She added, “It is clear that those who committed such a brutal attack in a sacred place of worship cannot have any religious, humanitarian or moral values,” affirming her “solidarity with the French people in the face of terror and violence.”
In a statement, the Saudi Ministry of Foreign Affairs expressed “the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s strong condemnation and condemnation of the terrorist attack.”
She affirmed, “The kingdom’s categorical rejection of such extremist actions that are inconsistent with all religions, human beliefs and common sense of humanity.”
It is reported that a Saudi citizen attacked a security guard at the French Consulate in Jeddah on Thursday with a knife, at a time when countries with a Muslim majority are witnessing angry protest movements against France over the publication of cartoons embodying the Prophet Muhammad.
European Union leaders expressed their solidarity with France and pledged to confront “those seeking to incite and spread hatred.”
“I condemn the hateful and brutal attack that took place (…) in Nice and stand with France with all my heart,” European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen said in a tweet.
“I stand in solidarity with the victims of this hateful act. The whole of Europe stands in solidarity with France. We will remain united and resolute in the face of barbarism and fanaticism,” she added.
European Parliament President David Sassoli called on Europeans to “unite against violence and against those who seek to incite and spread hatred.”
“I feel deeply shocked and saddened by the news of the horrific Nice attack. We all feel this pain in Europe,” Sassoli said in a tweet.
Pope Francis prayed for the victims at a time when the Vatican said that “terrorism and violence can never be tolerated.”
“Today’s attack sowed death in a place of love and solace. The Pope is aware of the situation and is in contact with the grieving Catholic community,” Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said.
The Supreme Pontiff exhorted the French people to “stand together to confront evil with good.”
The France Accord conference
The French Bishops Conference saw the attack as an “indescribable” act, and expressed its hope that “Christians will not become a target for murder.”
“We were very moved and shocked by this kind of unspeakable act,” said Father Hugh de Wollemon, a spokesman for the center, after the attack in Nice, southeast France. He added, “There is an urgent need to combat this scourge which is terrorism, with the same urgency to build brotherhood in our country in a tangible way.”
German Chancellor Angela Merkel affirmed that Germany stood by France after the “brutal” attack. “I am very shocked by the brutal killings in the church in Nice. My thoughts are with the relatives of the dead and wounded. Germany stands with France at this difficult time,” she said in a tweet posted by her spokesman, Stefan Seibert.
Italian Prime Minister Giuseppe Conte condemned the “heinous attack”, stressing that “it will not destabilize the united front in defense of the values of freedom and peace.” “Our convictions are stronger than fanaticism, hatred and terrorism,” he added in a tweet.
Spanish Prime Minister Pedro Sanchez said, “We continue to defend freedom, our democratic values, peace and the security of our citizens. We stand on one side against terrorism and hatred.”
British Prime Minister Boris Joseon has pledged to stand by France in its fight against extremism.
“I am horrified to hear the news coming from Nice this morning about a brutal attack on Notre Dame,” he said in a tweet in English and French.
“We stand in solidarity with the victims and their families, and the United Kingdom stands firmly with France against terrorism and intolerance,” he added.