Authorities in France ID Nice Attacker as Tunisian Migrant
France’s top anti-terrorist prosecutor says the man who beheaded a woman and killed two other people on Thursday at a cathedral in the French city of Nice is a Tunisian migrant who arrived in Europe on September 20 via the Italian island of Lampedusa. The man, identified by French police and Tunisian security officials as Brahim Aouissaoui, was born in 1999. Prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard told reporters that Aouissaoui arrived in Nice by train on Thursday morning before heading to the Basilica of Notre-Dame de Nice. “On the attacker we found a Koran and two telephones, the knife of the crime – 30cm, with a cutting edge of 17cm. We also found a bag left by the attacker. Next to this bag were two knives that were not used in the attack,” he said. Ricard added that Aouissaoui had been taken to a hospital in critical condition after being shot by police. A Tunisian security official told the Reuters news agency that the attacker had not been on any terrorist watch lists. The deaths at the cathedral appeared to be a copycat attack stemming from the October 16 beheading of a French teacher who had displayed cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad during a lesson on freedom of speech. Subsequent remarks by French President Emmanuel Macron about extreme Islamist beliefs set off a wave of anti-France unrest in the Muslim world. The cathedral attack, as well as a knife attack that wounded a guard at the French consulate in the Saudi Arabian city of Jeddah, both came on the day marked by Muslims as the birthday of the Prophet Mohammad.
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