The attack took place in the church of Notre-Dame in the center of Nice around nine o’clock local time on Thursday morning.
French authorities also confirm that three people have died after the attack.
According to Reuters, both the police and government officials confirm that one of the victims, a woman, was beheaded. The same reports the BBC, which writes that the elderly woman “practically was beheaded” when she was in church to pray.
Avisa Nice Matin writes that it is a question of a 70-year-old woman, according to NTB.
There are also several injured after the attack.
– Everything indicates a terrorist attack, says the city mayor Christian Estrosi, who is on site Thursday morning.
He describes the killings as “bestial”, and says the perpetrator used the same methods as the attack on teacher Samuel Paty, according to the BBC. Paty was beheaded after showing cartoons of Muhammad while teaching freedom of expression, just over two weeks ago.
Two of the victims are said to have lost their lives inside the church. One of those killed is said to be a church servant, the mayor says according to the BBC.
The third victim is said to have managed to escape from the church and sought refuge at a restaurant nearby. The person had life-threatening injuries and died shortly after, writes Nice Matin.
Police write on Twitter that the situation is under control.
The mayor tells the press on the spot that the perpetrator “incessantly” shouted “Allahu Akbar” when he was arrested, the channel writes.
The perpetrator is said to have been shot by the police and transported to hospital, according to the newspaper Nice Matin.
French Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin has called a crisis meeting and is urging residents to avoid the area.
– A serious incident has taken place in the Notre-Dame church in Nice. Security and rescue forces are on site. Avoid the area and follow the instructions from the authorities, the Ministry of the Interior writes on Twitter.
President Emmanuel Macron will be on his way to the site.
– I was just on the phone with the President of the Republic who said thank you to the police and all the security forces. He asked me to convey all his support to the people of Nice, who he will travel to during the day, writes Mayor Estrosi on Twitter.
A minute’s silence was observed to mark the attack in the French parliament on Thursday morning.
A security zone has been established around the church, and the police are investigating. French anti-terror police have been asked to assist, according to Reuters.
According to Nice Matin, there must have been chaotic scenes at the church, which is located in one of the city’s busiest streets, around 9 o’clock local time. Several shots must also have been heard.
Pierre, who works in a company right next to the church, tells Nice-Matin that he witnessed the police action against the church from the office window.
– My colleagues stood and took a smoke outside. They hurried back up and said there was a crazy man outside. We heard several shots. About 20 of us sought refuge in the office. It’s very worrying. We saw the police enter the church.