Forensic officers work at night in front of Notre Dame Basilica on October 29, 2020 in Nice, France.
  • A man killed three people with a knife at a Catholic church in Nice, France, on Thursday.
  • The attack at the Notre-Dame church began at 08:29. local time and followed the beheading of a teacher in Paris on October 16.
  • The victims were Vincent Loquès, the cathedral sexton, Simone Barreto Silva, a careworker and worshipper, and an unnamed 60-year-old women.
  • The killer was identified by prosecutors as a 21-year-old Tunisian. He was shot by police at the scene and is in intensive care.
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Three people were killed at a Catholic church in Nice, France, when a man with a knife attacked on Thursday morning.

The attack, in the city's Notre-Dame cathedral, began at 08:29 local time and follows the religiously-motivated beheading of a teacher in Paris on October 16.

French police arrested the susecpt. Prosecutors identified him as a 21-year-old from Tunisia who came to Europe via Italy in late September.

Much of the Muslim world is railing against France after Emmanuel Macron announced a law on October 2 that will see France get unprecedented oversight over mosques and Islamic associations.  That day, Macron was accused of Islamophobia after calling Islam "a religion in crisis all over the world."

Here's what we know about Thursday's victims:

Vincent Loquès

Loquès was a 54-year-old Frenchman from the Saint-Etienne-de-Tinée neighbourhood of Nice who had worked as a sexton in the church since 2013, according to Nice Matin.

Loqès was found in the church with his throat slit, according to Agence France-Press.

He was divorced and had two daughters aged 21 and 25, BFM TV said. He was due to celebrate his 55th birthday on Friday, October 30. 

Loquès' duties at Notre-Dame included opening and closing the church each day, and organizing masses and ceremonies, Le Parisien reported.

Father Jean-Louis Giordan, who was priest of Notre-Dame until 2019, told the newspaper that he was "cheerful, generous, reliable, with a strong character."

"He was very good with his hands, able to patch up buildings and make a beautiful Christmas crib as he did every year," he said.

A parishioner told Nice Matin: "He was someone very important. We used to see him every day. It hurts the heart." 

Simone Barreto Silva

Simone Barreto Silva was a 44-year-old a care worker and mother of three, who moved to France 30 years ago from Salvador, Brazil, G1 Globo reported.

Silva was badly wounded in the attack, fled the church, and found shelter in a nearby bar where she raised the alarm. "Tell my children I love them," Silva told paramedics shortly before she died, according to BFM TV.

"The Brazilian government regretfully announces that one of the fatalities was a 44-year-old Brazilian mother of three children, living in France," the country's Foreign Ministry told Agence France-Presse.

Jair Bolsonaro described the killing as "christophobia," according to Correio Braziliense, a term he popularized in 2019.

A 60-year-old worshipper

The third victim is yet to be named by authorities, but has been identified as a 60-year-old woman who had come to Notre-Dame to attend the first mass of the day.

She was found "almost beheaded" near the holy water font, a police source told Le Figaro. 

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