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3 dead in knife attack in French church; terrorism suspected

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PARIS — French anti-terrorism prosecutors are investigating a knife attack at a church in the Mediterranean city of Nice that killed three people and wounded several others at a time when French authorities are on high alert for extremist violence.

The assailant was arrested after the Thursday morning attack at the Notre Dame Church and taken to a nearby hospital after being injured during his arrest, a police official said. He was believed to be acting alone and police are not searching for other assailants, the official said. She was not authorized to be publicly named.

The anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office said an investigation was opened into an attack with a terrorist connection.

Images on French media showed the neighbourhood locked down and surrounded by police and emergency vehicles. Sounds of explosions could be heard as sappers exploded suspicious objects.

The exact motive of the attack was unclear but comes as France is under alert for Islamic extremist acts amid tensions over caricatures of the Muslim Prophet Muhammad published by satirical French weekly Charlie Hebdo, and after two other recent attacks in France with links to the cartoons.

The lower house of parliament suspended a debate on new virus restrictions and held a moment of silence Thursday for the victims. The prime minister rushed from the hall to head to a crisis centre overseeing the aftermath of the attack.

Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi said the attacker shouted “Allahu akbar!” repeatedly as police apprehended him and that “the meaning of his gesture left no doubt.”

Speaking to reporters in Nice, Estrosi said two people were killed inside the church and a third person who escaped to a nearby bar later succumbed to mortal injuries.

The Associated Press

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CP NewsAlert: Struggling Detroit Lions fire head coach, GM

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DETROIT — The struggling Detroit Lions have fired head coach Matt Patricia and general manager Bob Quinn.

The move comes two days after Detroit dropped a 41-25 decision to Houston.

The loss left Detroit (4-7) last in the NFC North.

Patricia was in his third season as Detroit’s head coach.

More coming.

The Canadian Press

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Former NATO commander Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin to lead vaccine distribution

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says former NATO commander Maj.-Gen. Dany Fortin will lead the nation’s vaccine distribution efforts.

Fortin most recently served as the chief of staff for the Canadian Joint Operations Command.

Trudeau revealed the plan at a press conference from his home in Ottawa.

He said the Canadian Armed Forces will assist in the vaccine rollout with cold storage requirements, data sharing, and reaching Indigenous communities.

The announcement follows days of criticism over his government’s vaccination strategy and uncertainty over the timeline of when Canadians might have access to a vaccine.

Deputy chief public health officer Dr. Howard Njoo said Thursday that priority groups should start receiving vaccine doses early next year.

Ottawa has finalized agreements with five vaccine makers and is in advanced negotiations with two more.

The deals would secure 194 million doses with the option to buy another 220 million.

Fortin’s appointment comes amid more alarming daily COVID-19 case numbers from Ontario, which reported 1,855 new cases Friday, and 20 more deaths.

Quebec reported 1,269 new COVID-19 infections and 38 more deaths linked virus, including nine that occurred in the past 24 hours.

Nunavut announced four new cases of COVID-19.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published Nov. 27, 2020.

The Canadian Press

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