Avignon: Man shouting ‘Allahu Akbar’ killed after attacking police with France on alert

French police have shot dead a man in the tourist city of Avignon after a terror attack put the country on high alert.

Local police opened fire at 11.15am local time after the man threatened passersby with a handgun. No other casualties were reported.

Police were also reportedly threatened in the incident which is not being treated as terror-related.

Initial reports claimed that he shouted “Allahu Akhbar” during the stand-off with police.

Officers first attempted to stun the suspect with a taser but opened fire when he continued to charge at them.

The incident occurred just hours after three people were killed at the Notre Dame basilica in Nice on Thursday morning.

In another incident, a man was arrested in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, after attacking a guard with a “sharp tool” in the city’s French consulate.

The incident happened in Montfavet, a neighbourhood several kilometers from Avignon’s city centre.

French news reports suggest the man had a “psychiatric history” and may have been a mental health patient at a nearby hospital.

It is believed the deceased suspect is of Turkish origin, according to early reports.

France has raised the security alert for French territory to the highest level, Prime Minister Jean Castex said.

He also told the French National Assembly that the government’s response to the attack would be firm and implacable.

France is still reeling from the beheading earlier this month of 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.

At least two people were beheaded inside the Notre-Dame basilica in Nice at around 9am just as morning service started, with several others injured.

Police are understood to have shot the alleged perpetrator who shouted “Allahu Akbar” as he was arrested and taken to hospital.

Two victims – a man and a woman – had been decapitated, it has been confirmed. “Both victims were beheaded,” said the police spokesman, pointing to “a terrorist attack”.

It was also confirmed that one of the deceased was a church warden.


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