Nice, the French city on the shores of the Mediterranean Sea and famous for its soothing climate, beaches and architectural monuments, saw yet another terror attack at a popular Catholic Church.
The attacker today killed three people — decapitating two women and stabbing a warden. The city mayor said the attacker was shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is great) during the attack.
Just four year ago, Nice was the target of a lone wolf attack in which 86 people were killed. A Tunisian national had driven a truck into crowds on Bastille Day on July 14, 2016.
France has seen a number of radical Islam-linked terror attacks. The first of such attacks took place during the 1990s, when an outfit called the Armed Islamic Group (IGA) targeted France on multiple occasions.
Plane hijack and Paris Metro bombings
Three major terror incidents took place in France between 1994 and 1996 all attributed to the Armed Islamic Group, an Algeria-based terror outfit. In 1994, an Air France flight was hijacked. Four persons died and 25 were injured in the incident.
In 1995, France was rocked by a serial bomb blast in Paris and Lyon. The Saint-Michel train station in Paris was the main centre of terror attack. A total eight persons died and over 140 injured. In 1996, the Paris Metro was again targeted in an IED explosion. Four people died and 170 injured.
A policeman pushing off people from the spot of terror attack in Nice, France. (Photo: AFP)
Soldiers, police on target
The terror incidents of the 1990s saw France launch a massive hunt to pin down radical terrorists. By early 2000s, France had put in place robust counter-terror apparatus in the country. But terror attacks renewed in 2012.
In the fresh wave, soldiers and police were seen as the targets of the terrorists. In 2012, a self-proclaimed jihadi carried multiple shootings targeting soldiers, a Jewish priest and even children killing seven and injuring five others.
In 2014, a man shouting “Allahu Akbar” entered a police station and started attacking policemen. He killed one and injured three others.
Charlie Hebdo attack of 2015
Charlie Hebdo is a satirical French magazine that had published cartoons of Prophet Mohammed that led to widespread protests by Muslims, who consider such caricatures as blasphemy.
As reaction, terrorists claiming affiliation to al-Qaeda and ISIS attacked Charlie Hebdo and other places in Paris in 2015 for three days. A total 17 people were killed including 12 at the Charlie Hebdo’s office.
France has been put on high alert after terror attack in Nice. (Photo: AFP)
Post-Charlie Hebdo attacks in France
- The Charlie Hebdo attacks changed the terror landscape of France. A series of terror attacks took place in France that year. The biggest incident was of November 2015 Paris attacks. More than 130 people were killed in those attacks and over 400 injured. These attacks remain the single biggest terror incident in France.
- In June 2015, a man identified as Yassin Salhi beheaded his boss and displayed the head along with two Islamic flags on the gate outside a gas plant near Lyon. French authorities said he had links with the ISIS. He died by suicide in a French prison.
- Another major terror attack in France took place in Nice in 2016 when 86 people were killed when a terrorist deliberately drove a cargo truck through crowds. More than 400 people were injured in the incident, which ended in an exchange of fire killing the terrorist.
- In 2016, two teens entered a church in French city of Normandy and slit the throat of an 85-year-old priest with five watching. The attackers were shot dead by police. Islamic State took responsibility and released a video as proof.
- In 2017, three people were killed including two women, who were stabbed at a train station, in separate terror attacks. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for those attacks. The attacks led to resignation of home ministry officials.
- In 2018, France sees terror-related hostage crisis, knife attack in Paris and a shooting incident. In Paris, attacker was shouting “Allahu Akbar”. The religious slogans have been shouted by attacker in several terror incidents in France.
- In 2019, a package bomb exploded in Lyon. French President Emmanuel Macron called it a terror attack. The attacker had pledge allegiance to the Islamic State.
- In 2020, more than half-a-dozen incidents have been reported from France. The most shocking of them was the beheading of a teacher, Samuel Paty, who was attacked as had shown the cartoons published by Charlie Hebdo in his lecture on freedom of speech.
- In another incident, a teenager, set off to target Charlie Hebdo’s office, attacked four people with a meat cleaver in Paris.
- And, now the stabbing incident was reported from Nice killing three persons in Notre-Dame de Nice.