France makes new arrests over Good church assault | France
French police said they had made two new arrests during the investigation to attack a church that left three dead in the southern city of Nice.
French police have made two new arrests during the investigation into an attack on a church in the southern city of Nice that killed three people as authorities attempt to understand the alleged murderer’s profile.
The authorities are currently holding a total of six people for questioning in order to understand whether they are connected to the Tunisian Brahim Issaoui, who, according to the prosecutor, carried out the knife rampage early Thursday in the Notre-Dame Basilica.
It is so far unclear whether he had outside help for what French President Emmanuel Macron called an “Islamist terrorist attack”, the latest in a series of violent incidents in France in recent weeks.
The youngest detainees, 25 and 63 years old, were arrested on Saturday at the home of a person arrested earlier that day, a court source told AFP news agency, asking not to be named.
Three other people previously detained on suspected Issaoui ties remain in custody.
Issaoui has been shot dead by police multiple times and is currently in serious condition in the hospital. Investigators were unable to question him and his exact motives remain unclear.
“It is too early to say whether others were complicit, what his motives were for coming to France, and when this idea took root in him,” said another source close to the investigation, who asked not to be named to be on Saturday.
The source said information from two Issaoui phones and an investigation by the Tunisian authorities would be critical to the investigation.
Investigators believe that Issaoui traveled illegally to Europe via the Italian Mediterranean island of Lampedusa on September 20.
It arrived in the Italian mainland port of Bari on October 9, before arriving in Nice two days before the attack.
France is on the verge of the recent republication of the Prophet Muhammad’s cartoons by Charlie Hebdo magazine, followed by an attack outside its previous offices, the beheading of a teacher and now the attack in Nice.
France received another shock on Saturday when an attacker shot and killed a Greek Orthodox priest at close range while escaping from a church in the French city of Lyon, seriously wounding him.
Macron’s comments last week aroused anger in the Muslim world and led tens of thousands of people – from Pakistan to Bangladesh to the Palestinian Territories – to join protests against France.
As the debate on Islam and freedom of expression deepened in recent weeks, many officials and demonstrators in Muslim-majority countries called for a boycott of products made in France.
The Prophet Muhammad is deeply revered by Muslims and any kind of visual representation is forbidden in Islam. The cartoons in question are viewed by them as offensive and Islamophobic because they associate Islam with terrorism.