A crazed knifeman reportedly shouted “We have to kill Macron” as he stabbed two people inside a church on election day in France.
A priest, named as Father Christophe, was knifed 20 times and an elderly nun was stabbed in the hand trying to shield him from the frenzied assault at Saint-Pierre-d’Arène church in Nice.
A 31-year-old Frenchman, born in Fréjus, is accused of approaching Father Christophe and unleashing the brutal attack at 10am (local time) this morning.
According to local reports, the attacker shouted “We have to kill Macron” as carried out his strike.
The priest was reportedly injured in the chest and legs and is in a critical condition.
In a separate election day incident, French police have blocked access to a polling station in the 8th district of Paris following the discovery of a potentially dangerous package.
In Nice, Emergency services took the victims from Saint-Pierre-d’Arène church to hospital.
Police quickly arrested the suspect, who is now in custody.
The man allegedly suffers from bipolar, according to local reports and official sources. There was no suspicion of a terror motive.
The mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, went to the scene and has said on Twitter the man was not known to police.
He said the man had received treatments for psychiatric care at the Sainte-Marie hospital.
Estrosi confirmed the alleged offender has now been arrested.
French politician Éric Ciotti wrote on Twitter: “An attack took place this morning in a church in Nice. The priest is injured.”
He said he stands in solidarity with the pasirshoners and thanked police who made an arrest quickly.
The French will take to the polls today to vote for their next president.
Campaigning has drawn to a close for incumbent head of state Emmanuel Macron and opposition Marine Le Pen who have been trying to win over voters.
The two politicians clashed in a televised debate on Wednesday when Ms Le Pen denounced religious outfits, saying she would ban Muslim headscarves.
Results posted just hours after the face-off showed Macron on 59 percent of the vote, and his far-Right rival on 39 percent, with 2 percent abstentions.
A similar outcome in the final round of the 2022 presidential election on Sunday would see Mr Macron take his second five-year term of office.