Nice church attack suspect had images on mobile phone of Paris terrorist

The suspect in an Islamic extremist knife attack that killed three people in a French church had a photograph on one of his mobile phones of the perpetrator of another deadly incident.

French prosecutors said the Tunisian man had images of Abdoullakh Anzorov, the Chechen refugee identified as the killer of teacher Samuel Paty who was beheaded on 16 October outside his school near Paris.

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Samuel Paty was beheaded on 16 October outside his school near Paris

An audio message that described France as a “country of unbelievers” and photos relating to the Islamic State group were also discovered on the phone of the 21-year-old arrested after the 29 October church attack in Nice.

However, investigators have as yet been unable to interview the suspected church attacker, previously identified as Brahim Aouissaoui, because he remains in serious condition in hospital.

He suffered life-threatening wounds during his arrest and has since tested positive for coronavirus.

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An armed police officer stands guard near Notre Dame church where the attack took place

The prosecutors’ office said it opened a formal investigation on terrorism charges that will enable investigators to keep looking at whether the suspected attacker had any accomplices in France, Tunisia or Italy.

He travelled through Italy before reaching Nice less than 48 hours before the attack in the Mediterranean city’s Notre Dame Basilica.