A dying mother who told medical professionals “tell my children I love them” after she was stabbed by a suspected terrorist was helped by a Muslim hero, who then valiantly confronted the killer.
44-year-old Simone Barreto Silva, who had lived in France for 30 years after moving from Brazil and had three children, died from wounds in front of the Notre-Dame Basilica in Nice, southern France.
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She was one of three people killed in the brutal attack by suspected terrorist Brahim Aoussaoui, a 21-year-old Tunisian migrant, who stormed the church with a 12-inch knife.
Simone died next to the 54-year-old church warden Vincent Loques and an unnamed third victim who was described as an elderly woman and was beheaded at 9 a.m. yesterday.
The mother is said to have stumbled out of the church and sought refuge in a nearby restaurant, where one of the workers and the brother of the owner Brahim Jelloule helped her.
Her profile on Facebook features pictures of her two young sons and a daughter, and her banner photo is a picture of Jesus.
Her last words “tell my children that I love them” are said to have been heartbreaking.
Jelloule told TV France Info: “She was crossing the street, all bloody, and it was my brother and one of our employees who rescued her, took her to the restaurant without understanding anything, and she said there was an armed man in the street was the church. ”
His brother and the worker then went to church to confront the killer, but found him armed with the blade.
They had no choice but to flee and call the police, who then rushed on the Catholic Church and shot the suspect 14 times.
The restaurant owner said Simone died about an hour and a half after the sting, despite paramedics trying to save her life.
“This is not Islam. I know the Koran by heart and he doesn’t preach that, ”Jelloule said.
Simone was born in Salvador, Brazil, trained as a cook, currently cared for the elderly and helped organize a festival of Brazilian culture in Nice every year, reports Globo.
The terrorist suspect Aoussaoui was unknown to the security services and traveled from Italy to Paris on October 9, after arriving on the Italian island of Lampedusa on September 20.
He is said to have changed after arriving in Nice by train before staking out at 8:29 a.m. in the church before slaughtering the three churchgoers for over half an hour.
Mr Loquès, a father of two, was the sacristan of the building, preparing for the first mass of the day when he was attacked.
Parishioners praised him as a man who loved his church and said: “He has helped, he has served, he has given,” reports Nizza-Matin.
His body was found in Notre Dame.
Le Parisien reports that Mr. Loques had been a church warden for ten years and that members of the community said he was “expansive and personable”.
French prosecutor Jean-Francois Ricard said last night that the body of the third victim, a 60-year-old woman, was found strangled and beheaded near the script in the church.
A team of four local police officers stormed the church through a side entrance and shot the terrorist with a taser and firearms when he shouted “Allahu akbar”.
The attacker was hospitalized with severe wounds when the anti-terror police opened an investigation into the bloody rampage.
Investigators found two unused knives, a Qu’ran and two cell phones, as well as a bag with some personal effects.
The counter-terrorism police also arrested a 47-year-old man in Nice on suspicion of being an accomplice.
He was reportedly in close contact with the Aoussaoui prior to the attack and reportedly gave him the second cell phone.
The suspected murderer’s mother, Kmar, cried when questioned about her son at the family home in the Tunisian city of Sfax.
His brother Yacine told Al Arabiya TV, “He told me he wanted to spend the night in front of the cathedral.
“He also sent me a photo of the building. He called me when he arrived in France. ”
He said the family were shocked to learn he was responsible for the attack after seeing pictures of him on the church floor.
A neighbor said he knew the attacker when he was a mechanic and had various other odd jobs and had shown no signs of radicalization.
Tunisian judicial officials said Brahim was not classified as an extremist and was not known to security forces before leaving.
Fellow migrants who traveled to Europe with Aoussaoui claimed he was “on the phone all the time” while on a coronavirus quarantine ship after his first arrival in Italy
The Italian newspaper Il Corriere della Serra reported that he had told other migrants that he was dying to go to France, where he claimed to have relatives.
There was a wave of violence in France yesterday when an alleged right-wing gunman who was reportedly delivering a Nazi salute was shot dead by police in Avignon.
Two other suspects were caught with knives elsewhere in France while a security guard at the French consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, was stabbed to death.
President Emmanuel Macron described his country as “under attack” when he turned to the nation on the day of the bloodshed.
He denounced the massacre in Nice as an “Islamic terrorist attack” and defiantly said the nation would “not give up our values”.
The president announced that after the violence, up to 7,000 soldiers would be sent onto the streets across France to protect sights, schools and places of worship.
France has now raised its alert status to the highest possible level of “terrorist attack emergency”.
Kind Mayor Christian Estrosi said the attacker kept shouting “Allahu Akbar” even after being shot and loaded into an ambulance.
He said, “Enough is enough. It is now time for France to break free from the laws of peace in order to finally wipe out Islamo-fascism from our territory. ”
It comes as the anti-France sentiment rages in a furious argument in many Muslim nations controversial cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed.
And the attacks occurred while Muslims were celebrating the holy day of Mawlid, which marks the birth of Muhammad.
History teacher Samuel Paty, 47, was beheaded by 18-year-old Abdullah Anzorov on October 17 after teaching his students about the importance of free speech through the cartoons.
France has provoked the wrath of nations like Iran and Turkey as it has taken a tough line in defense of the controversial caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.
History teacher Paty was posthumously awarded the Legion of Honor – France’s highest honor – and Macron insisted that the country “will not give up our cartoons.”
In France, cartoons of prophet Mohammed were exhibited in solidarity with Paty to defend what many in the country see as values of free speech and secularism.
Macron has said he would redouble his efforts to prevent conservative Islamic beliefs from undermining French values - which has angered many Muslims.
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France has initiated crackdown on Islam, which is perceived as radical, and announced that it has searched more than 120 houses and closed a mosque in Pantin.
Paty is seen by many in France after his brutal death as an advocate of free speech – which inspires the defiant phrase “Je Suis Prof”.
The picture he showed the students was the same one published by Charlie Hebdo that sparked the attack on the magazine’s offices that killed 12 people.
His murder came a few weeks earlier after a knife attack near Charlie Hebdo’s former offices – in which the suspect was believed to have tried to target the magazine.
French President Emmanuel Macron says “France is under attack” after the knives of Nice and Avignon raged
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