Third suspect in Nice attack in custody; victims named

Two of the three victims in the attack have been named as Vincent Loquès and Simone Barreto Silva.

A man lights a candle near the Notre Dame church in tribute to the victims of a deadly knife attack in Nice, France, October 30, 2020 (photo credit: REUTERS/ERIC GAILLARD)
A man lights a candle near the Notre Dame church in tribute to the victims of a deadly knife attack in Nice, France, October 30, 2020
A third person was taken into custody in France in connection with the knife attack which left three dead in Nice on Thursday, a police source said on Saturday.
The arrest took place on Friday, the source added.
An attacker beheaded a woman and killed two other people in a church in the city of Nice on Thursday in the second deadly knife attack in France in two weeks.
A man was shot by police and is now in critical condition in a hospital.
France's chief anti-terrorism prosecutor has said the man suspected of carrying out the Nice attack was a Tunisian born in 1999 who had arrived in Europe on Sept. 20 in Lampedusa, the Italian island off Tunisia. On Thursday evening a 47-year-old man was taken into custody on suspicion of having been in contact with the perpetrator of the attack, a judicial source said at the time.
On Friday, a 35-year old man, who is a Nice resident, and who is suspected of having met with the assailant the day before the attack, was also taken into custody, a judicial source confirmed. The third arrest followed immediately afterwards, the police source said.
The Jewish community in Nice closed 15 synagogues and three schools on Friday, amid fears of being targeted. Security was also increased around kosher shops.
All three victims in the attack were targeted inside the basilica on Thursday morning shortly before the first mass of the day.
French media have named one victim as Vincent Loquès, 55, a devout Catholic and father of two who had worked at the basilica for over a decade. Mr Loquès was opening the church up for service when the attacker slit his throat, according to French police.
The Notre Dame parish treasurer, Jean-Francois Gourdon, told Reuters he had been working in the church with the sexton, Vincent Loques, but left shortly before the attacker arrived. Loquès, he said, "was very honest, he was at everyone's service, good-humored, liked to joke."
A 60-year-old victim who has not been named was "virtually beheaded" close to the font, according to France's chief anti-terrorism prosecutor, the BBC has reported.
The third victim, Brazilian native Simone Barreto Silva, who came to France 30 years ago, escaped the church and made it to a nearby cafe to raise the alarm before succumbing to her wounds. She told those who tried to help her: "Tell my children that I love them."
"She crossed the road, covered in blood," said Brahim Jelloule, manager of the Unik cafe. "She was still talking, she was saying that there was someone inside (the church)," Jelloule told France Television.
Chloe, a witness living nearby, told the BBC: "We heard many people shouting in the street. We saw from the window that there were many, many policemen coming, and gunshots, many gunshots."
In Nice, residents mourned the victims of what was the second attack in the Mediterranean city in recent years. In July 2016, a militant drove a truck through a seafront crowd celebrating Bastille Day, killing 86 people.
People gathered in front of the Notre Dame church to lay flowers and light candles.
"I'm from Nice and this is a tragedy once again," said Frederic Lefevre, 50, who wore a French national rugby shirt.
"We're a free country. Let's love freedom - that's a message to the world. No god should kill," he said.
France, home to Europe's largest Muslim community and hit by a string of militant attacks in recent years, has defended the right to publish such cartoons. Macron has insisted France will not compromise on its basic freedoms of belief and expression.
In Pakistan, Bangladesh and the Palestinian territories, tens of thousands of Muslims staged anti-French protests after Friday prayers.
In Islamabad, police briefly fired tear gas at protesters who broke through security blockades in a failed attempt to demonstrate at the French embassy.
In Bangladesh, marchers in the capital Dhaka chanted "Boycott French products" and carried banners calling Macron "the world’s biggest terrorist." Some burned effigies of the French president.
"Macron is leading Islamophobia," said Dhaka demonstrator Akramul Haq. "The Muslim world will not let this go in vain. We'll rise and stand in solidarity against him."
Protests also took place in India, Lebanon and Somalia.
The leader of Lebanon's Iranian-backed Hezbollah movement, Sayyed Hassan Nasrallah, said the cartoons were an aggression. He condemned the Nice stabbings, but said Western leaders also bore responsibility for such crimes because of their roles in Middle East conflicts.
Interior Minister Gerald Damarnin said France was engaged in a war against Islamist ideology and more attacks on its soil were likely. "We are in a war against an enemy that is both inside and outside," he told RTL radio.
Nice Police Chief Richard Gianotti said any symbol of the republic or Christianity was a potential target. "We have to be vigilant, we have to be attentive," he told Reuters.
French embassies were also told to step up security.
Police used a Taser and rubber bullets to overpower a man in Paris on Friday when he threatened officers with two knives after they challenged him. The motive was not immediately clear.