Nice suspect was not on Tunisia's suspected militant list

Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi talks to Municipal Police at the site of a knife attack in church in Nice, France, October 29, 2020 in this still image obtained from social media. Courtesy Twitter / @CESTROSI via REUTERS

TUNIS/PARIS (Reuters) - The Tunisian suspect in Thursday’s attack in which three people were killed in Nice in southern France was not listed by Tunisian police as a suspected militant before he left the country in September, a judiciary official said.

Brahim Aouissaoui, 21, left Tunisia by boat on Sept. 14 said the official, Mohsen Dali, and arrived in Nice on Wednesday. Tunisia has opened an investigation into Aouissaoui, who was detained by French police after the attack, Dali said.

Aouissaoui is originally from the village of Sidi Omar Bouhajla near Kairouan, but had lately been living in Sfax and police are questioning his family there, a Tunisian security source said.

Sfax, a major port about 130km (80 miles) from the small Italian island of Lampedusa, is a major point of departure for Tunisians seeking to make the dangerous and illegal crossing to Europe.

A French police source said Aouissaoui wasn’t known to French intelligence services either.

Reporting by Tarek Amara in Tunis and Tangi Salaun in Paris; Editing by Hugh Lawson