A suspected terrorist who knifed three people to death in a church rampage in Nice, France has tested positive for Covid-19 while recovering from bullet wounds he sustained when he was shot by police.
Ibrahim Issaoui, 21, was shot 14 times by police following the devastating knife attack at Nice’s Notre-Dame basilica, leaving him in critical condition.
The Turkish native is understood to be recovering well in hospital, but has now been diagnosed with coronavirus, which could further delay him being questioned by French security police, judicial sources have reported.
Issaoui beheaded Nadine Devillers, aged 60, slit church worker Vincent Loques’ throat, and stabbed mum Simone Barreto Silva, 44, multiple times before the authorities were put a stop to the massacre by gunning him down.
Issaoui was born in Brazil but lived in Turkey with his family where he was known to Tunisian police for violence and drug offences.
He arrived in France in September, having first crossed the Mediterranean to the Italian island of Lampedusa and entered the country as a refugee.
Authorities have detained four more people for questioning as of Tuesday November 3, including a 29-year-old man suspected of being in contact with Issaoui, say judicial sources.
The individuals were taken into custody in the Val-d’Oise department just north of Paris, it has been reported.
Sources said six other people had previously been detained over links with the killer, but only one remains in custody.
The attack in France forced authorities to raise the country’s terror level as it came days after French teacher Samuel Paty was slain in the street.
Paty had shown a class at a school in Conflans-Sainte-Honorine a cartoon of the prophet Mohammed with his bare buttocks exposed, which offended the assailant in that case.
President Emmanuel Macron last weekend attempted to defuse anger in the Muslim world over the perceived anti-Muslim policies of the French state, telling Al Jazeera his role as guarantor of French secularism and freedom of expression had been “distorted.”
Despite this, Mr Macron said he would defend the right to publish cartoons mocking religion, leading Turkey to call for the boycott of French goods.