DAD-OF-TWO Vincent Loquès has been named as the first victim of a brutal 'terror attack' in the city of Nice that left three people dead and a woman beheaded.
Tributes have flooded in to remember the "sympathetic" caretaker of the Notre-Dame basilica – which was attacked this morning by a suspected Islamist terrorist.
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Loquès was the building's 54-year-old sacristan, an officer charged with taking care of the church.
Parishioners paid tribute to him as a man who loved his church, saying "he helped, he served, he gave", reports Nice-Matin.
He was said to be preparing the church for Sunday's upcoming All Saint's Day when he was attacked by the knifeman.
Le Parisien reports that Mr Loques had been a church warden for ten years, and members of the parish said he was “expansive and sympathetic”.
Local politician Eric Ciotti this evening tweeted a picture of Mr Loques smiling, and paid tribute to the “devoted employee” of the cathedral.
Mr Ciotti wrote: "Thoughts for Vincent Loquès, sacristan of the Basilica of Notre Dame de Nice cowardly murdered by an Islamist terrorist.
"He was extremely devoted to his church, I think of his family, his loved ones and the entire Catholic community."
It came on a day of chaos in France as another suspect, reported to be brandishing a knife, was shot dead in the city of Avignon while calling “Allahu Akbar”.
Meanwhile, another suspect reported to be carrying a knife was arrested in a Paris suburb after telling his family he wanted to 'copy the attack' in Nice, Le Parisien reported.
Responding to the wave of violence, the French President vowed to deploy 7,000 troops to the streets of France to protect churches – as he claimed the country was "under attack".
Macron denounced the Nice bloodbath as an "Islamic terror attack" and defiantly said the nation would not "give up on our values".
France has now raised its alert status to the highest possible level of "terror attack emergency".
Police sources named the suspect as Brahim Aoussaoui, a 21-year-old Tunisian who had arrived in Europe just weeks ago.
One of the victims of the Nice attack – a woman, reportedly aged 70 – was said to have been decapitated inside the church.
It was widely reported in French media she was beheaded, and the city's mayor also confirmed the nature of the injuries, as well as police sources speaking to Reuters.
The second female victim – said to be in her 40s – reportedly managed to escape and took refuge in a nearby bar where she succumbed to her injuries, reports BFMTV.
She reportedly said to the emergency services: "Tell my children that I love them."
It is reported the church was preparing to open for mass when the knifeman attacked, sparking a swoop by armed police who shot and wounded him at around 9am local time.
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