A French knifeman described as mentally unstable stabbed a 59-year-old priest and a 72-year-old nun multiple times in an unprovoked attack in a church on French Riviera in Nice.
Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said on Twitter that the priest’s life was not in danger and added that police had arrested the attacker.
Local lawmaker Eric Ciotti said the priest, Father Kryzysztof Rudzinski, had been stabbed several times, and a nun named Sister Marie-Claude was cut in the arm as she snatched the knife from the attacker around 10 AM in the Saint Pierre d’Arène church.
French police arrested a 31-year-old French man from Fréjus, southeastern France, after the attack on Father Rudzinski and Sister Marie-Claude.
France Info reported that the perpetrator had said upon his arrest that he had wanted to kill President Emmanuel Macron on election day.
After the perpetrator did not find President Macron in the church, he attacked Father Rudzinski.
The nun stood in the way of the attacker, after which members of the congregation lunged at the man, and one unnamed woman hit him with a candlestick before French police arrived.
Ciotti also praised the ‘extraordinary courage’ of Sister Marie-Claude, in intervening as the attacker stabbed Father Rudzinski.
The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, posted a picture from inside the church on Twitter and said that the attacker was a ‘disturbed’ Frenchman who may have planned the attack for ‘a few days’.
“The perpetrator was a disturbed man, who was born in Fréjus, who has no prior convictions, and who took out several knives. We have to ask if this was a premeditated attack because he had acquired a knife 7cm long a few days before the attack,” Estrosi said.
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