Local mayor Christian Estrosi has described it as a “terrorist attack”.
“I am on the scene with the police who arrested the attacker. Everything points to a terrorist attack,” Mr Estrosi said on Twitter.
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 was in a life-threatening condition.
He was believed to be acting alone, the official said. She was not authorised to be publicly named.
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.
France’s Interior Minister Gérald Darmanin said he was chairing a crisis meeting at the ministry in response to the attack.
The exact motive of the attack is still being investigated but it 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 for the victims.
Source: 9News | World News