Brahim Aouissaoui is a 21-year-old young man who arrived in France a few days before the attack. For the head of the anti-terrorism services, the target would be the Catholic Church. But yesterday there were other abortive attacks: in Jeddah, in Lyon, in Avignon. They were targeting France. Yesterday was the Muslim festival of Walid, in honor of the birth of Muhammad. Prayers in all the churches of France for the victims of Nice and for an end to the violence. Secularism and blasphemy.
Nice (AsiaNews / Agencies) - The 21-year-old young man who killed three people in the Notre Dame Cathedral of the Assumption in Nice had entered France only a few days earlier and had arrived via Italy, where he landed a month ago. He was carrying a document issued by the Red Cross when he landed in Lampedusa on a migrant boat on 20 September.
Little is known about him. His name is Brahim Aouissaoui, he was born in 1999, he arrived in Lampedusa on September 20. After an anti-Covid quarantine, he travelled to the city of Bari in the south of the peninsula on 9 October and then all trace of him was lost from there. The French security forces picked up the first traces of him on October 29 at the Nice train station, where he changed his jacket and shoes. Brahim left the station at 8.13 am and heads towards the street where the church is located. At 9 he makes his killings.
The three victims were in church just before the morning mass began. Two died inside: a 60-year-old woman who was nearly beheaded and the sacristan, a 55-year-old who was slaughtered. The man was married and had two children. Another woman, 44, was stabbed several times by the killer – with 30 cm long blade - and managed to escape to a nearby café, but died shortly after. She left a message of love for her children.
Thanks to the alarm raised by a witness, the police arrived very soon and after a few shots managed to stop Brahim, who was hit in several places and is now in hospital in serious condition.
In the church, the police found the killer's backpack, containing two other knives and some personal effects, including a Koran and two mobile phones.
According to Jean-François Ricard, head of the anti-terrorism squads, the three people were attacked "for the sole reason that they were in Church". For Ricard, the target of the terrorist was the Catholic Church.
In reality, the tension erupted in recent weeks, after the re-publication of the satirical cartoons on Mohammed by the weekly “Charlie Hebdo”, the beheading of Prof. Samuel Paty, President Emmanuel Macron’s statements against radical Islam, the harsh criticism of the Turkish Erdogan, thus France seems to be the real target and perhaps freedom of expression itself, including the freedom to blaspheme.
Yesterday there were three other attacks. In Saudi Arabia, a man attacked a guard at the French consulate in Jeddah with a knife. The victim was transported to the hospital and the perpetrator stopped.
In Lyon, a young Afghan known by the intelligence services, also with a 30 cm knife, was stopped by the police, suspected of launching an attack.
Still later, in Avignon, a 33-year-old man of Maghrebi origin, armed with a knife, refused to disarm and was shot by the police.
According to some experts, all of these attacks are connected: yesterday was in fact the Muslim festival of Walid, in honour of the birth of Mohammed. It is likely that the satirical cartoons provoked a desire for revenge on the part of some Muslims.
Yesterday in many churches in France, prayer services were held for those killed in Nice.
For the Rector of the basilica of Nice, Olivier Spinosa, "we must stop this situation, but avoid that violence generates more violence".
A Catholic teacher thinks Charlie Hebdo's decision to republish the cartoons on Mohammed is exaggerated. Questioned by Le Monde, he says: “Secularism cannot be reduced to caricature. Christian love consists in not hurting the other".