Special mass in Nice church following deadly knife attack

The Notre-Dame Catholic church in the southern French city of Nice held its first mass on Sunday, following a knife attack there that left three dead.

An assailant shouting “Allahu Akbar” (God is Greatest) beheaded a woman and killed two other people in the basilica on Thursday, in France’s second deadly knife attack in two weeks with a suspected Islamist motive.

Church sexton Vincent Loques was one of the victims, along with devout mother-of-three Simone Barreto Silva, who moved to France from Brazil as a teenager. A 60-year-old woman, who was named by church officials as Nadine, was beheaded.

Several hundred people gathered on the other side of a security perimeter around the church to follow the mass from a distance.

The bishop of Nice, Andre Marceau, paid tribute to the victims, as he led the ceremony from the steps of the church, which was covered in wreaths and candles.

Part of the service was an act of reparation, following the bloodshed in the church. A traditional mass was also held to mark All Saint’s Day, one of the holy days in the Christian calendar, when faithful celebrate and remember saints.

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