Nice (France): A new suspect is in custody Friday in the investigation into a gruesome attack by a Tunisian man who killed three people in a French church. The suspect is a 47-year-old man believed to have been in contact with the attacker the night before the attack on the Notre Dame Basilica in this city, according to a judicial official. The official was not authorised to be publicly named.
The attacker, Ibrahim Issaoui, was seriously wounded by police and hospitalized in life-threatening condition, authorities said. Anti-terrorism prosecutors in France and Tunisia are investigating his credentials.
In an interview broadcast Friday with Saudi-owned ‘Al-Arabiya TV’, Issaoui’s mother said she was shocked by the events. From the Tunisian province of Sfax, the mother, her eyes wet with tears, said she was surprised to hear her son was in France when he called upon his arrival and had no idea what he was planning.
“You don’t know the French language, you don’t know anyone there, you’re going to live alone there, why, why did you go there?” she said she told him over the phone at the time.
His brother told Al-Arabiya that Issaoui had informed the family he would sleep in front of the church, and sent them a photograph showing him at the cathedral where the attack took place. “He didn’t tell me anything,” the brother said.
A neighbour said he knew the assailant when he was a mechanic and held various other odd jobs, and had shown no signs of radicalisation.