The man who killed three people in a church in Nice, France, on Thursday was a Tunisian who entered France from Italy, and was carrying a copy of the Quran on him at the time of the attack, France’s anti-terrorism prosecutor said, according to The Associated Press.
French authorities have named the attacker as Brahim Aouissaoui, 21.
The prosecutor, Jean-Francois Ricard, was quoted as having told a press conference late Thursday that the man arrived in Italy by reaching the Mediterranean island of Lampedusa on September 20, and traveled to Paris on October 9.
The travel information came from a document on the man from the Italian Red Cross, Ricard said.
The attacker was seriously wounded by police and is being treated in a hospital.
Ricard detailed the scene encountered inside the Nice basilica, where a man and woman were killed by the attacker. The third victim, a 44-year-old woman who managed to flee, died at a nearby restaurant.
A 60-year-old woman whose body was found at the entry of the church, suffered “a very deep throat slitting, like a decapitation,” Ricard said. The 55-year-old man also died after deep cuts to his throat, he added.
An investigation was opened for murder and attempted murder in connection with a terrorist enterprise. The prosecutor said the attacker, who was born in 1999, was not the radar of intelligence agencies as a potential threat.
The Quran and two telephones were among the things found on the attacker. Also found was the knife used to kill him, with a 17-centimeter blade, Ricard said. A bag with his personal affairs also was found containing two unused knives.
The attack is the third in France in the past several weeks. On October 16, teacher Samuel Paty was beheaded by a Chechen man in a suburb of Paris after showing cartoons of the Prophet Mohammed during a class on freedom of speech.
Last month, a 25-year-old man wounded two people in a meat cleaver attack in Paris. He was subsequently charged with "attempted murder with relation to a terrorist enterprise."
In recent years, France has been hit by a number of attacks claimed by the Islamic State (ISIS), the biggest one being the attack in November of 2015 in which 129 people were murdered.