French sources name suspect in deadly Nice attack as Tunisia launches investigation

French sources name suspect in deadly Nice attack as Tunisia launches investigation
Sources close to the investigation of Thursday’s deadly attack in the French city of Nice named the suspect as Tunisian Brahim Aouissaoui, as Tunisia said it would launch an investigation.
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Three people were killed in the terror attack at the church in Nice [Getty]

The man suspected of killing three people at a church in the southern French city of Nice on Thursday is a 21-year-old Tunisian who arrived in Europe just a few weeks ago, sources close to the inquiry said.

The suspect, identified as Brahim Aouissaoui, landed in late September on the Italian island of Lampedusa, where he was placed in virus quarantine by authorities before being released with an order to quit Italian territory.

He arrived in France in early October, the sources said.

In the knife attack, the suspect shouted "Allahu Akbar" (God is greatest, in Arabic, killing a woman and a man. Another woman was seriously injured and died in a nearby bar where she had taken refuge. One of the victim’s throats was slit.

Tunisia on Thursday strongly condemned the attack and said it had launched an investigation.

“Tunisia strongly condemns the terrorist incident in Nice and expresses its solidarity with the government and people of France," said a statement from the foreign ministry. 

The North African state stressed its "rejection of all forms of terrorism and extremism," and warned against "ideological and political exploitation of religions," according to the statement.

Mohsen Dali, deputy attorney general at the Court of First Instance in Tunis, told AFP that "a commitment was made to open an investigation following suspicions that a Tunisian committed a terrorist operation outside the country".

The attack in Nice comes amid widespread anger in Muslim communities at comments by France's President Emmanuel Macron, who vigorously defended the publication of cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed by the French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo on free speech grounds.

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