A terrorist attack in Nice, France on Bastille Day has left 77 dead so far and over 100 people injured.
A 31-year-old French-Tunisian man drove a large lorry truck into crowds celebrating Bastille Day on July 14th. The terrorist attack has, so far, left more than 70 people dead and another 100 injured.
The name of the driver has not yet been released but he is now confirmed dead after a shootout with police following the attack. Various photos on social media showed the truck with numerous bullet holes on its windshield. He is said to have been a resident of Nice.
Witnesses said that the attacker behind the wheel drove at high speeds along the iconic Promenade des Anglais seafront where a large mass of spectators were watching the fireworks display. As they stood up at the end of the show, he rammed into the crowd for a distance of two kilometers.
Though it seems as though the man was working alone, authorities are urging people in the surrounding areas to use extreme caution and to stay indoors, if possible. Early reports of continued attacks were deemed as rumors, such as the smoke coming from the Eiffel Tower, which turned out to be from the fireworks.
Nice Matin journalist Damien Allemand, who was a witness to the carnage, said,
“I saw bodies flying like bowling pins along its route. Heard noises, cries that I will never forget.”
After seeking refuge in a nearby restaurant, Allemand went back out onto the street and said that he saw bodies and body parts lying everywhere.
The U.S. ambassador to France, Gerard Araud, and President Barack Obama called the horrific act a “terrorist attack”, and the Mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, said that the truck was filled with various arms and grenades.
An exact motive has not been confirmed, but The Guardian pointed out that the tactic of driving into a crowd as a means of inciting terror was suggested in a published article in Inspire Magazine years ago. The magazine is a terrorist publication with ties to al-Qaeda.
In a “tragic paradox,” as European Council president Donald Tusk put it, Bastille Day is a day in which France’s citizens celebrate “liberty, equality, and fraternity.”
French President Francois Hollande had just announced hours ago that they would not be extending the state of emergency that would expire on July 26th after the Paris attacks last November. After this attack, however, the state of emergency will be renewed and continue for several months.
This story is developing and currently underway.
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