NICE, France (AP) – A new suspect is being held Friday in investigation into the gruesome attack by a Tunisian man that killed three people in a French church, as France stepped up security alerts amid Religious and geopolitical tensions surrounding cartoons mocking the Muslim prophet.
The suspect is a 47-year-old man believed to have come into contact with the attacker the night before the attack on Notre Dame Cathedral in Nice city, Riviera, according to a judicial official. Officials are not allowed to disclose their names.
According to authorities, the attacker, Ibrahim Issaoui, was severely beaten by the police and was hospitalized in a life-threatening condition. Counterterrorism prosecutors in France and Tunisia are investigating.
In an interview aired on Friday with Saudi-owned television channel Al-Arabiya, Issaoui̵7;s mother said she was shocked by the events.
MACRON OPEN THE ‘TRACKING’ SOLUTIONS AFTER PURCHASING, SECURITY BOLSTERS AT SCHOOLS AND RELIGIOUS VENUES
From Tunisia’s Sfax province, the mother, with teary eyes, said she was surprised to learn that her son was in France when he called when he arrived and did not know what he was planning. “You don’t know French, you don’t know anyone there, you’ll live alone there, why, why are you going there?” she said she told him over the phone at the time.
His brother told Al-Arabiya that Issaoui informed the family that he would be sleeping in front of the church, and sent them a photo showing him at the church where the attack occurred. “He didn’t tell me anything,” he said. A neighbor said he knew the attacker when he was a mechanic and did many other odd jobs, and showed no signs of extremism.
METHODOLOGY ASSESSMENT: WORLD LEADERS STAND UP TO THE US AFTER 3 DEADS IN THE ‘BARBARIC’ KILLS IN THE NICE CHURCH
The French counterterrorism prosecutor said the suspect, a Tunisian born in 1999, arrived on the Italian island of Lampedusa, an important landing point for boat migrants from North Africa, on September 20 and to Bari, a port city in southern Italy. , on 9 October. It’s not clear when he will be in Nice.
The attack was the third in less than two months that the French authorities attributed to Islamic extremists, including the beheading of a teacher who showed a caricature of the Prophet Muhammad in class after These images were republished by satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo.
CLICK HERE TO GET THE FOX NEWS APP
French President Emmanuel Macron said it would immediately increase the number of soldiers deployed to protect schools and religious sites from about 3,000 to 7,000.