Nice: A priest and a nun attacked with a knife in a church by an "unbalanced"

Father Krzysztof Rudzinski and a nun who tried to intervene were injured in a knife attack in a parish in Nice. The 31-year-old alleged attacker would have made “several stays in a psychiatric hospital” and his gesture would “not have a terrorist character a priori”.

A visibly "unbalanced" Frenchman and victim of psychiatric disorders seriously injured a priest of Polish origin with a knife on Sunday morning in a church in Nice, in the south of France, but his gesture would not have any jihadist character.

The attack was announced by Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin in a tweet. “An attack took place this morning in a church in Nice. The priest is injured. No vital prognosis involved. Solidarity with the parishioners and thank you to the police who quickly arrested the author,” wrote Minister Gérald Darmanin.

Shortly before a mass at 10 a.m., a man entered the Saint-Pierre-d'Arène church, carrying "several stab wounds to the priest", told AFP Maud Marty, deputy prosecutor in Nice.

The victim, Father Krzysztof Rudzinski, of Polish origin, settled in this parish for more than 10 years, was transferred to the hospital, mainly injured in the chest. A nun was also slightly injured in one hand while trying to intervene, according to French justice.

The alleged attacker, aged 31, struck his victim with a blade of about ten centimeters. He was quickly arrested and placed in police custody, but this was lifted in the evening, for medical reasons, with the hospitalization of the defendant in a psychiatric unit, indicated the public prosecutor of Nice, Xavier Fellow.

An investigation has been opened for attempted murder and intentional violence with a weapon.

The national anti-terrorist prosecutor's office has been notified, but has not yet taken up the investigation in view of the first information provided.

"The investigation is continuing under the direction of the Nice prosecutor's office, the national anti-terrorist prosecutor's office not seizing it," added Mr. Bonhomme. The investigation was entrusted to the judicial police of Nice.

“The motives for the act are to date and at this time difficult to establish”, insisted the prosecutor, specifying that the attacker was not known on the judicial level and was followed psychiatrically.

According to police sources, this man, named Kevin, of French nationality and born in Fréjus (south of France), is "manifestly bipolar" and his gesture would have "no terrorist character a priori": "He spontaneously declared to the police force that he was of the Jewish faith and that on this election day he wanted to kill Macron and that he had finally fallen back on a church”.

This man would have made “several stays in a psychiatric hospital”, indicated the mayor of the city, Christian Estrosi.

Nice has been traumatized by several deadly jihadist attacks in the past.

On October 29, 2020, a Tunisian, Brahim Aouissaoui, burst into the basilica in Nice and stabbed three people to death. He had been indicted for "assassinations and attempted assassination in connection with a terrorist enterprise".

And on July 14, 2016, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, a Tunisian living in Nice, drove into the crowd at the wheel of a 19-tonne truck, mowing down dozens of people for two minutes, before being shot dead by the police. The attack, which killed 86 people, will be the subject of a trial in September.

Editorial staff (with AFP)

Image credit: Creative Commons / Wikimedia

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