Attack in Nice: What we know so far

NICE (AFP) - Eighty-four people were killed after a truck ploughed through a crowd of people celebrating Bastille Day in the southern French city of Nice.

  • Here is what we know so far about the attack that the Islamic Statein Iraq and Syria (ISIS) group claims was carried out by one of its "soldiers".
  • A white 19-tonne rented refrigerator truck slammed into the crowd on Nice's seafront around 10:45 pm (2045 GMT) on Thursday (July 15).
  • Some 30,000 people had gathered on the glitzy beachfront avenue, the Promenade des Anglais, to watch a firework show for France's national day.
  • The truck ploughed two kilometres through the crowd, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told reporters.
  • Anti-terror prosecutor Francois Molins said the driver fired "several times" on three police officers as they tried to bring the truck to a halt, and eventually shot him dead.
  • Molins named the driver as a 31-year-old Tunisian, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, who lived in Nice, and was described by neighbours as a loner who never responded to their greetings. His identity papers were found in the truck, along with a pistol and ammunition and a number of fake weapons including two replica assault rifles. His body was found on the passenger seat, said the prosecutor.
  • Molins said Lahouaiej-Bouhlel had had various brushes with the law since 2010 for making threats, theft and violence, including a conviction in March this year for which he was given a six-month suspended sentence. But he was "totally unknown" to the intelligence services, said Molins. His estranged wife was held for questioning. Four other men believed to be linked to him have also been detained, a judicial source said Saturday.
  • The attacker's father, who lives in Msaken, eastern Tunisia, said his son had suffered from depression and had "no links" to religion.
  • The ISIS group claimed on Saturday (July 16) that one of its "soldiers" carried out the attack "in response to calls to target nations of coalition states that are fighting (ISIS)".
  • The probe is being handled by anti-terrorism investigators. The attack comes with France under a state of emergency following the ISIS attacks in Paris in November that left 130 people dead.
  • Hollande announced that the state of emergency - which he had said only the day before would end on July 26 - will be extended by three months. Army reservists will be called up to boost security. He also said France would strengthen its role in Iraq and Syria, where it is part of the international coalition fighting IS jihadists. He chaired a meeting of top military and security officials later Friday to decide on possible further steps.
  • Eighty-four people were killed and 202 injured, including 52 critically, 25 of whom were in intensive care, Molins said. He said the dead included 10 children or adolescents. Hollande said "many foreigners and young children" were among those killed or injured. Two US citizens were confirmed dead by the State Department. A German teacher died with two of her students, as well as a French father protecting his pregnant wife. The Swiss foreign ministry announced the death of a Swiss woman and a child.