Based on police findings, French prosecutors believe two terrorist attacks that occurred 13 days apart in different cities in France are linked.
The suspect of the church’s knife attack in the city of Nice that fatally left 3 dead, Tunisian Brahim al-Aouissaoui, age 21, had pictures of the man -partially identified as Abdoulakh A. of Chechen origin- who beheaded the school teacher Samuel Paty.
The pictures were found on al-Aouissaoui’s phone after he was shot down by police.
These photos, which were found along with other images linked to the Islamic State group, can signal a “common motive behind the two attacks,” reported Reuters.
Additionally, the two attacks were acted out in similar methods in which the killers used a large knife to behead or attempt to behead the victims. This had also led prosecutors to make connections between the attacks.
Both attacks by al-Aouissaoui and Abdoulakh took place after French satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo republished offensive cartoons of the Islamic Prophet Muhammad – the same cartoons that had triggered a deadly attack on its staff in 2015.
Before beheading the teacher, Abdoulakh recorded a message saying he was going to “punish” Paty for showing the cartoons during a class on freedom of expression.
The attacks have undoubtedly raised tensions between Muslims and non-Muslim communities in France. On their side, French Muslim leaders have condemned the attacks and “all forms of violence in the name of our religion,” they said.
In light of the recent terrorist attacks, France is currently on its highest security alert wary of more.