An independence celebration in the Southern city of Nice, France was marred by a horrific attack, with thousands running for their lives.
Rampage attack in Nice, France on Bastille Day, the French Independence Day
Suspect drove a large truck along the Promenade des Anglais, as people gathered to watch fireworks
The driver swerved to maximize casualties, killing 84, and injuring at least 200 more.
Driver was killed by police, truck had weapons and grenades inside. Driver shot out the window at the crowd.
Drivers name is Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, a 31 year old Tunisian-French, state says links to terrorism
Eyewitnesses claim the driver shouted “Allahu-Akbar”
State of Emergency in France extended for 3 additional months
While Americans celebrate their Independence on the Fourth of July, the French celebrate Bastille Day on July 14th. The city of Nice has always held fireworks along the water, but that celebration was defaced by a terror attack last night.
At 11 PM local time, while a crowd of thousands collected on the Promenade des Anglais to watch fireworks, a truck plowed through the crowd at around 30 miles per hour(50kph). It drove through the crowd for over a mile (2 km), as the crowd ran as fast as they could. Police opened fire on the truck, killing the driver.
Journalist Damien Allemand said “He was 5 meters from me. I ran towards a safe place at Le Cocodil. I went out after to see what happened. Nobody was moving anymore. In two minutes, the promenade became like a desert…I went to the scene and it was… I don’t have words. There was blood everywhere, a guy cut in half.”
Video shows the truck driving towards the crowd before it was stopped by police
Additional video shows the crowds of people running panicked from the Promenade
The driver was identified as having dual Tunisian-French nationality, based on an ID card found near the body, and the Police are investigating whether there were accomplices. The driver was well known to the police.
This incident is being treated as a terror attack, however no terror group has claimed responsibility for it yet. The truck was reportedly loaded with weapons and grenades, and reports say that the driver was firing at the crowd while he was driving.
The French president, Francois Hollande said that soldiers would be deployed to support local law enforcement and border police. He also extended the State of Emergency for France three additional months. The State of Emergency was declared after the Paris attacks which left over 130 people dead, and was set to expire at the end of the month.
The french far-right leader Marine Le Pen said that the “war on Islamic fundamentalism” must begin.
Police are currently searching the home of the attacker, looking for signs of any clues as to accomplices or motives
French president Francios Hollande has spoken about the tragedy. he said:
- “Why Nice? Because it’s a town famous across the world, a beautiful town”
- “Why the 14th of July? Because it’s a celebration of Bastille day – of freedom. And it was to affect France.”
- “We have an enemy who will continue to strike all the people, all the countries who have freedom as a fundamental value.”
- He expressed appreciation and praised law enforcement for putting a quick end to the carnage
- “We are France as one”
Support has come in from all over, with words of encouragement and words of anger from leaders:
Donald Trump also said that he wanted to issue a declaration of war against ISIS, even though there is no evidence yet that this attack was perpetrated by ISIS.