France continues to experience mounting tension due to recent attacks and the increase of Islamophobia.
The number of people in custody as part of the ongoing investigation into the October 29 stabbing attack in Nice, southern France, reached six as of Saturday.
France 24 said the newest arrests came on Saturday, when French police arrested two more men for investigation.
Police made the arrests as they investigated the people the main suspect was in contact with before carrying out the attack at a church last week.
During the attack, the man beheaded a woman, killed two more people, and injured several others near the Basilica of Notre-Dame in Nice.
Police arrested the perpetrator, a 21-year-old migrant from Tunisia, after shooting him.
He is now in critical condition in a hospital, France 24 reported.
The suspect arrived in Europe on September 20 from Tunisia. He first landed in Lampedusa, an Italian island near Tunisia.
The French news outlet said investigators in Italy are now reviewing the assailant’s movements and contacts on the island of Sicily. “They believe he may have spent time there after going from Lampedusa (Italy) to Bari (Italy) in early October on a ship used to quarantine migrants.”
France 24 quoted judicial sources as saying authorities in Bari might have handed the man an expulsion order, urging him to leave the European country within a week.
The sources added that investigators are determining whether or not the suspect stayed in Alcamo, Sicily, for a 10-day period.
The attacks in Nice came after the murder of Samuel Paty on October 16. An 18-year-old Chechen man born in Russia beheaded Paty, a history teacher, for showing his students Charlie Hebdo’s caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad.
Paty’s murder sparked anger, panic, and frustration among Muslims and non-Muslims alike.
Millions of people condemn the attack, but the recent remarks from President Emmanuel Macron and French politicians angered Muslims.
French officials blamed “Islamists” for the attack, with Macron defending the cartoons offensive to Islam and the Prophet Muhammad.
“France will never give its cartoons,” Macron said, adding that Islamists want France’s future.
Macron also described the attack in Nice as “Islamist terrorism.”
In an attempt to help reduce tensions, Macron said he respects all religions during an interview on Saturday.
He also said that he understands Muslims’ anger at the repeated display of Charlie Hebdo’s cartoons, but condemned the boycott Muslims launched worldwide against France.
Muslims and Arabs launched in October a campaign calling for the boycott of French products.
The campaign went viral on social networks.
Macron, however, described the campaign as “unworthy” and “unacceptable.”