French attack leaves woman ‘virtually beheaded’ inside church in Nice

NICE, France — Three people were killed in what is being described as a terrorist attack in the French city of Nice.

The alleged attacker used a knife.

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Mayor Christian Estrosi said one woman was '"virtually beheaded" inside Notre Dame Basilica Thursday morning, BBC News reported.

The elderly woman had gone to the church to pray, the BBC reported. Her throat was slit in the attack, CNN reported.

A second victim, a man, was killed inside the church after his throat was cut. The third was stabbed, but tried to escape, The Associated Press reported. That woman got to a cafe but eventually died, according to BBC News.

There are also several reports of injuries, but no word on exactly what those injuries were, ABC News reported.

France’s anti-terror prosecutors have started a murder inquiry, BBC News reported.

The attacker was shot but is alive, the AP reported.

The attack was the country’s third in two months. In September a trial began focusing on the January 2015 deadly attack at the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and at a kosher supermarket.

But there has been no official motive released, BBC News reported.

Thursday’s attack came weeks after the beheading of French middle school teacher Samuel Paty. Paty’s alleged killer said he was punishing the teacher for showing cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad during a civics lesson, ABC News reported.

Nice was also the scene of a horrific terror attack in 2016. A man drove a truck into crowds who had gathered to celebrate Bastille Day, BBC News reported.