A second suspect has been arrested in Thursday’s attack on a French church that left three dead.
The 47-year-old man, whose name has not been released, is believed to have been communicating with alleged assailant Ibrahim Issaoui the night before the attack on the Notre Dame Basilica in Nice, a judicial official not authorized to be publicly named told The Associated Press on Friday.
Though it’s not yet known when Issaoui, born in Tunisia in 1999, arrived in Nice, he arrived on the Italian island of Lampedusa late last month before being ordered to leave the country on Oct. 9
Authorities noted the attacker was seriously injured by police and has been hospitalized in life-threatening condition.
It was alleged online that the attack on the French Riveria city was committed by the previously unknown extremist group known as Al Mehdi of Southern Tunisia, Mohsen Dali, a substitute prosecutor at the Tunisian anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office told the outlet.
The claim is now being investigated by Tunisian anti-terrorism authorities.
President Emmanuel Macron has pushed back against political Islam, which elicited more protests against the French Friday, the same day the country began a new lockdown to stop the spread of coronavirus.
Otmane Aissaoui, an imam in the city, told AP that the attack was a “terrible act of terror, of savagery, of human insanity that plunges us into sadness, shock and pain."
Vincent Loques, Arahmi Ihou, and Simone Barreto Silva were the three killed in the attack.
Loques was a 55-year-old church warden and father of two. Ihou owned the internet café next door to the church and was known for being “nice to everyone — people [of] all nationalities.”
Brazilian-born Silva, 44, was a mother of three who moved to the European nation to care for the elderly and join her sister’s dance group, her friend told Brazilian outlet G1.
Silva “died like a warrior,” Anderson Argolo, a priest from an Afro-Brazilian region who knew the victim’s family, told Brazilian newspaper Folha de S. Paulo. “Despite being hurt, she ran and was able to sound the alarm, preventing a bigger tragedy.”
Earlier this month, 47-year-old history teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded, allegedly by 18-year-old Moscow-born Chechen refugee Abdoulakh Anzarov, 18, on a street near the Conflans-Sainte-Honorine school where he taught, about 20 miles outside of central Paris.
Authorities say Paty was targeted after discussing caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad in class. Anzarov was shot dead by authorities. Fifteen people, including four students, were in the custody of police following the suspected terror attack.
With News Wire Services
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