On a day meant to celebrate independence and freedom, horror and tragedy struck the people of Nice, France as a terrorist attack killed at least 77 people, including children, and injured over 50.
As the fireworks finale of Bastille Day came to an end, a shooter concealed inside a truck began to shoot into the crowd. The shooter then accelerated the truck, zigzagging and swerving the truck into the crowd of people to “hit as many people as possible,” as Lieutenant General, Michael Flynn, said during the Kelly File.
Police were able to shoot and kill the perpetrator. Regional President, Christian Estrosi, told CNN that upon inspecting the truck, police found firearms, explosives and grenades inside it.
“France has been struck on the day of her national holiday…the symbol of liberty,” President Francois Hollande said during a press conference. “We show our solidarity towards the victims and their families. All means are being deployed to help the wounded.”
Confirming that the tragedy was an act of terrorism, Hollande has increased security measures throughout the country and has extended France’s “State of Emergency,” which was intended to end on July 26 for three more months.
“Nothing will lead us to give in to our will to fight against terrorism. We are going to strengthen our efforts in Syria and Iraq against those who are attacking us on our very soil,” Hollande said. “France is afflicted but I assure you she is strong and she will always be stronger than the fanatics that want to strike her today.”
President Obama has spoken out on the attack, calling it a “horrific terrorist attack” that has “killed and wounded dozens of innocent civilians.”
“I have directed my team to be in touch with French officials, and we have offered any assistance that they may need to investigate this attack and bring those responsible to justice,” Obama said. “We stand in solidarity and partnership with France, our oldest ally, as they respond to and recover from this attack.”
No terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attack but regional newspaper Nice-Matin has reported that the man was of Tunisan origin with dual French-Tunisian nationality.
We will continue to update this story as it progresses.
The suspect has been identified as 31-year-old Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel and ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack. According to the Telegraph, a media outlet run by the Islamic State called Bouhlel a “soldier” of the group who was carrying out “the operation in response to calls to target the citizens of coalition countries fighting the Islamic State.”
Transcript of President Hollande’s press conference speech was found at The Guardian.
Image retrieved from Flickr.