French President Emmanuel Macron has declared the country ‘under attack’ and said soldiers would be posted at churches to ‘protect’ them.
He made the statement following reports a fourth knife attack was foiled near a church in Paris this afternoon.
The man was detained near Saint-Martin Church in Sartrouville after he allegedly left his house armed with a knife saying he wanted to ‘copy’ this morning’s Nice attack that left three people dead.
The father of the suspect warned police who rushed to the scene, according to the Le Parisien newspaper.
France has been struck by three devastating knife attacks in the space of two hours, leaving three people dead and several others injured.
The first saw three people killed by a knifeman inside the Notre-Dame Basilica, just as a service was starting shortly before 10am local time.
Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi said that ‘everything about the incident’ suggested a terrorist attack.
At least two of the victims, a man and woman, 70, were decapitated.
The man killed in the attack was the church sexton. A third victim, a woman aged 40, managed to escape the attack but died shortly after from her wounds.
Two knife attacks followed in the space of two hours at separate locations.
Officials are yet to confirm whether the attacks are linked. Just over an hour after the Nice attack, at about 11.15am, another knifeman was shot dead by French police in the Montfavet district of Avignon, in the south-east.
Around a similar time, a man was arrested in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, for attacking a guard outside the French embassy. Mr macron halted parliament’s planned coronavirus debate to head to Nice following the incident.
He said security would be stepped up on French territory, Soldiers would be posted at places of worship including churches to ‘protect’ them following the violence in Nice, and security would also be stepped up at schools too, he added.