French bishops ordered a “death knell” to ring from every church of their country yesterday after three people were killed in a basilica in the Mediterranean city of Nice. Source: CNS.
Churches were asked to chime their bells at 3pm in an act of mourning for three people who were killed in Nice’s Notre Dame Basilica while preparing for morning Mass.
Pope Francis sent a tweet expressing closeness to the people of Nice. “I pray for the victims, for their families and for the beloved French people, that they may respond to evil with good,” it said.
The French Council of Muslim Worship condemned the killings and asked Muslims to express their “mourning and solidarity with the victims and their relatives” by cancelling all celebrations yesterday of the birthday of Muhammad.
According to French media, the victims included a 70-year-old woman whose body was found by police “almost beheaded” beside a holy water font.
A 45-year-old sacristan, Vincent Loques, a father of two daughters, was found dead in the basilica.
A second woman, in her 30s, fled the church after she was stabbed, but died in the nearby cafe where she had sought refuge.
Police shot and wounded the suspect, later identified as Brahim Aouissaoui, 21, a Tunisian who entered France via Lampedusa, an Italian island between Malta and Tunisia, at the end of September.
French police have confirmed they are treating the killings as a terrorist incident.
UPDATE: French bishops order ‘death knell’ after three killed in Nice basilica (By Simon Caldwell, CNS)
Pope Francis close to the mourning community in Nice (Vatican News)