French President Emmanuel Macron arrived in Nice (in the south of the country) shortly after the stabbing incident this morning, and 3 people were killed.
While responses to the attack continued, domestically and internationally, the French authorities announced raising the level of security alert and holding a crisis meeting.
Upon his arrival, President Macron toured the vicinity of Notre Dame Church, where the attack took place, and inspected with a number of security officials the places that witnessed the armed attack.
The French President spoke with police officers on the spot, and he also met the Mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi.
"We have decided this morning to raise the level of emergency against threats, and we will provide security protection for places of worship and schools," Macron said, adding that the state is determined to protect its citizens.
The French president added, "The whole country stands with our Christian citizens and with all our citizens, regardless of their beliefs," noting that "in France there is one society and we must not surrender to the spirit of division."
Prior to that, the Nice police said that the attack took place in the vicinity of the Church of "Our Lady" (in the city center) at nine o'clock in the morning local time, and announced that they had arrested the attacker, and that he was suffering from severe injuries, and that he was subsequently transferred to hospital.
Al-Jazeera correspondent said that the attacker was a Tunisian refugee who arrived in France illegally at the beginning of the month from the Italian island of Lampedusa.
A police source also told Reuters that he was a 21-year-old Tunisian and was still being investigated by the police.
The French Press Agency quoted the Nice police as saying that at least one of the victims was slaughtered, indicating that a man and a woman were killed in the "Notre Dame" church, while a third died after being seriously injured in a nearby bar where he had taken refuge.
In the same context, the police said they shot dead a person in "Montfaveh" near the city of Avignon (southern France) after he threatened passers-by with a weapon.
The French radio "Europe 1" reported that the man was chanting "God is great."
In another separate incident, the police arrested an Afghan, wearing a traditional dress and carrying a knife, in the city of Lyon (central-eastern France), after he was considered a threat, according to what is known from a source close to the file.
He added that the man was going to perform a certain job, describing the incident as "serious."
Police officers in front of the "Notre Dame" church in Nice (Reuters)
The Al-Jazeera correspondent said that the French Defense Council will hold a meeting tomorrow morning at the presidential headquarters in Paris, and Prime Minister Jean Castex announced raising the level of security alert in the French territories, stressing that the response to the Nice attack will be strict.
For his part, French Interior Minister Gerald Darmanan called for a crisis meeting over the attack, and the French Anti-Terrorism Attorney General's Department said it had received a request to investigate the incident.
Commenting on the attack, the mayor of Nice said that France is a victim of what he described as "Islamic fascism."
While inspecting the site of the attack, he confirmed that the bomber repeated the phrase "God is Great" while being transported to the hospital.
As the attack coincided with the holding of a regular session of the French Parliament, the President of the National Assembly, Richard Ferrand, stopped the work of the session, and asked the deputies to observe a minute of silence for the lives of the victims.
The Catholic Church had earlier condemned the Nice attack, saying that "Christians should not be a symbol that should be killed."
The Council of the Islamic Religion in France also declared its strong condemnation of the stabbing, and decided to cancel all celebrations related to the Prophet’s birthday, in solidarity with the victims.
The authorities raised a state of security alert throughout French territory (Reuters)
Internationally, there were repeated reactions condemning the attack, the first of which came from the European Parliament, which described the attack as horrific, and its president, David Sassoli, expressed his deep shock and sadness, calling for unity to confront violence, and for those he described as seeking incitement and spreading hatred.
For its part, German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared her solidarity with France, after what she described as the brutal attack in Nice.
Moscow also described the Nice attack as a horrific tragedy, and the Kremlin said it was unacceptable to hurt religious feelings, and it was unacceptable to kill people.
In turn, Turkey strongly condemned the "brutal attack" and offered its condolences to the families of the victims.
The Turkish Foreign Ministry said that "there is no justification to destroy a person's life, and that whoever committed the Nice attack lacks religious and human values."
The Secretary-General of the United Nations, António Guterres, condemned the "abominable attack" in Nice, according to his spokesman Stephane Dujarric from New York.
The spokesman said in a daily press conference that Guterres "reaffirms the solidarity of the United Nations with the people and government of France" in this ordeal.
For his part, Al-Azhar Al-Sharif and its Grand Imam, Ahmed Al-Tayeb, Sheikh of Al-Azhar, condemned the attack, saying in a statement on Facebook that "there is in no way a justification for those hateful terrorist acts that are inconsistent with the tolerant teachings of Islam and all heavenly religions," calling for "the necessity of working to confront To all acts of violence, extremism, hatred and intolerance. "
The attack comes amid the anger of Muslims in France and around the world after the French President's defense of the publication of insulting cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, may God bless him, and his earlier statement that the Islamic religion is experiencing a crisis everywhere.