A man was tasered by police in Paris after allegedly trying to attack officers with a knife, according to reports. French journalist Christine Kelly said that a man in his 40s, accompanied by his father, ran into police in the 15th arrondissement with two knives shouting ‘execute me’. She said he was neutralised with a taser shortly after 3pm local time. Another journalist at the scene, Clement Lanot, said no-one was injured and that soldiers from the Vigipirate anti-terrorist initiative arrived to secure the area.
The knifeman’s motive is unclear. It comes a day after French President Emmanuel Macron declared the country ‘under attack’ following a string of incidents feared to be terror related. In a day of tragedy for France, three people were killed by a knifeman inside the Notre-Dame Basilica in Nice on Thursday, just as a service was starting shortly before 10am local time. Police have identified the suspect as 21-year-old Tunisian Brahim Aouissaoui, who had arrived in Europe on a migrant boat last month, having been processed through the Italian Red Cross.
He repeatedly shouted ‘Allahu akbar’, meaning ‘God is greatest’ in Arabic, even after he was shot by police, detained and treated by paramedics before being taken to hospital. Just over an hour after the Nice stabbing, at about 11.15am, another knifeman was shot dead by French police in the Montfavet district of Avignon, in the south-east. He also shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ as he threatened passers-by and police with a blade, according to reports. Around a similar time, a man was arrested in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, for attacking a guard outside the French embassy.
Then at around noon, police managed to stop a fourth attack in the north-western suburbs of Paris after a man allegedly armed with a knife told his father he wanted to ‘copy’ the Nice attack. After visiting the scene of the tragedy in Nice, Macron pledged to double military patrols and to provide extra protection to churches and other places of worship, as well as schools. As the victims of the attack were identified, Police said they had detained and questioned a 47-year-old man believed to have been in contact with the assailant the night before the stabbings. After mourners paid tribute outside the Nore Dame Basilica, French citizens were warned the country could be hit by more attacks Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin warned on Friday that the country was engaged in a ‘war against Islamist ideology’. ‘We are in a war against an enemy that is both inside and outside,’ he told RTL radio after a defence council meeting. ;We need to understand that there have been and there will be other events such as these terrible attacks.’ The Nice tragedy comes less than two weeks after history teacher, Samuel Paty, 47, was beheaded in a Paris suburb, after showing pupils a cartoon of the Prophet Muhammad. Following his death, President Macron said France would not ‘renounce the caricatures’ of Prophet Muhammad. The cartoons from French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo were projected onto government buildings last week. The act sparked anger across the Islamic world, with thousands of Muslims calling for a boycott of French products.