A man stabbed a Catholic priest several times and injured a nun at a French church on Sunday after shouting, “We have to kill Macron.”
Both the priest and the nun survived the attack, which took place at a church in Nice beside the French Riviera. The motives of the suspect, who was taken into custody by police, are still unclear, although his mental faculties had been under watch.
The nun, Sister Marie-Claude, was injured while trying to stop the attacker from stabbing the priest, Father Christophe. Her actions were praised as heroic and she was credited for having “extraordinary courage.”
Both were at the Église Saint-Pierre-d’Arène de Nice Catholic Church when the assault unfolded.
“Speaking with reporters at the scene, Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi described the suspect as a mentally unstable French national who was born in Fréjus, a port town on the Côte d’Azur in southeastern France,” Fox News reported. “Bernard Gonzalez, the prefect of the Alpes-Maritimes department of southeast France, added that according to the preliminary investigation, the suspect had no criminal record and was unknown to police services.”
The outlet also noted that the attacker had reportedly been under psychiatric monitoring. Before attacking the priest, the French outlet Le Figaro reported that the attacker said, “We have to kill Macron.”
“I was the first on the scene once I was alerted to the incident by my assistant and the local police,” Estrosi told reporters. “Both local and national police were swiftly on the scene together to neutralize the disturbance.”
Estrosi also provided an update on the status of Father Christophe.
“I want to thank the emergency services even though the priest is currently in the emergency care unit, he’s being well taken care of and we are in constant contact with him and despite everything he is doing well and is awake and alert,” he said.
The attack came the same day as citizens across France voted in the second round of the country’s presidential elections. Incumbent President Emmanuel Macron defeated right-wing challenger Marine Le Pen.
“President Macron is expected to take 58.2% of the vote to Le Pen’s 41.8%, according to an analysis of voting data by pollsters Ipsos & Sopra Steria conducted for broadcasters France Televisions and Radio France,” CNN reported Sunday.
Le Pen has conceded to Macron, stating that France missed a chance to make a move for freedom throughout the country.
“A great wind of freedom could have blown over our country, the fate of the ballot box wanted otherwise,” she said. “I will not abandon the French! Vive la France.”
Le Pen favored restrictions on immigration, reducing the country’s connections to NATO, and hoped to introduce a ban on headscarves being worn in public by Muslim women.
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