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French PM raises attack alert to 'emergency' after church killings in Nice

Paris: France's prime minister Jean Castex says the country's threat level will be raised to its maximum after an attack near a church killed three people Thursday in Nice.

The move comes just hours before the country was going into its second Coronavirus lockdown.

An attacker armed with a knife killed three people at a church Thursday in the Mediterranean city of Nice, French authorities said.

It was the third attack in two months in France amid a growing furor over caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad that were re-published by the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.

Other confrontations and attacks were reported Thursday in the southern city of Avignon and in the Saudi city of Jiddah, but it was not immediately clear if they were linked to the attack in Nice. Sounds of explosions could be heard as sappers exploded suspicious objects.

The incident, which the Mediterranean city's mayor described as terrorism, took place less than two weeks after the beheading of middle school teacher Samuel Paty by a man of Chechen origin.

Paty's attacker said he wanted to punish him for showing pupils cartoons of the Prophet Mohammad in a civics lesson.

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