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French churches honour three victims killed in Nice knife attack

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Priest Henri de La Hougue, left, celebrates the All Saints Day mass in Saint-Sulpice church, in Paris, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020.
Priest Henri de La Hougue, left, celebrates the All Saints Day mass in Saint-Sulpice church, in Paris, Sunday, Nov. 1, 2020.   -   Copyright  Thibault Camus/AP Photo
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France's churches held services on Sunday honouring the three people killed in a terror attack at the Notre Dame Basilica in Nice.

Nice Archbishop Andre Marceau prepared a special nighttime service in the basilica following the knife attack on Thursday. The service will pay homage to the victims.

Other churches included Saint Sulpice in Paris mentioned the attack during services for All Saints' Day, a day where Christians honour the dead.

The church services went ahead, some with extra security, despite a second national lockdown due to rising COVID-19 cases in the country.

The knife attack on Thursday moved the country to a high terrorism alert and comes following a beheading of a teacher in Paris and stabbing outside the offices of Charlie Hebdo last month.

Investigators are still unclear about the motive of suspect Ibrahim Issaoui, a 21-year-old Tunisian entered France through Italy last month. He is in critical condition in a French hospital after being wounded by police.

Five others are in custody after being detained near Nice in connection with the investigation.

Authorities said the church killing was an act of terrorism. It took place amid tensions over the republication of cartoons mocking the Prophet Muhammad.

French President Emmanuel Macron said in an interview on Saturday that he understood the caricatures were shocking but that he defended freedom of expression and secular values.

Meanwhile, hundreds of protesters in Pakistan burned effigies of the French leader as anti-France protests continued in several countries.

The incidents in France and the government's response has sparked conversation of the country's stance on secularism and tolerance of a Muslim minority in the country.