Tunisia on Thursday strongly condemned a deadly “terrorist” attack at a church in the French city of Nice and said it launched an investigation after reports the assailant was Tunisian.
A knife-wielding man killed three people on Thursday in the southeastern French city, slitting the throat of at least one of them, in an attack that triggered global shock and is being investigated as the latest terrorist attack in France.
“Tunisia strongly condemns the terrorist incident in Nice and expresses its solidarity with the government and people of France,” said a statement from the foreign ministry.
The North African state stressed its “rejection of all forms of terrorism and extremism,” and warned against “ideological and political exploitation of religions,” according to the statement.
The assailant, who was shot by police and arrested, is reportedly a Tunisian migrant who recently arrived in France via Lampedusa, Italy, according to sources close to the case.
The assailant shouted “Allahu akbar”(God is greatest, in Arabic) as he attacked, killing a woman and a man. Another woman was seriously injured and died in a nearby bar where she had taken refuge.
Mohsen Dali, deputy attorney general at the Court of First Instance in Tunis, told AFP that “a commitment was made to open an investigation following suspicions that a Tunisian committed a terrorist operation outside the country”.
The attack in Nice comes amid widespread anger in Muslim communities at comments by France’s President Emmanuel Macron, who vigorously defended the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed by the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on free speech grounds.