Jul 15, 2016 22:07(IST) What we know so far
A Tunisian living in France drove a large truck through crowds celebrating Bastille Day along Nice's beachfront, killing at least 84 people, many of them children, according to police and hospital officials. The slaughter ended only after police killed the armed attacker in a hail of bullets.
202 people were wounded in the attack, with 25 on life support and 52 in critical condition. Among the dead were 10 children and teens, according to French prosecutor Molins.
Police identified the attacker as Mohamed Bouhlel, a 31-year-old Nice resident, and said he had drawn a gun on them. The truck's front windshield was riddled with bullets.
The attacker, Bouhlel, was reported to have had a history of threats, violence and petty theft, according to Molins, from 2010 to 2016, and had been sentenced this year to six-months in prison for a road rage incident.
Victims include foreign nationals from France, Germany, United States, Switzerland, Morocco, Russia, Ukraine, Armenia and Tunisia.
No group has claimed responsibility for the carnage, but French officials called it an "undeniable act of terror". Hollande said that it was not clear whether the driver had accomplices, while The Paris prosecutor's office opened an investigation for "murder and attempted murder in an organised group linked to a terrorist enterprise."
Flags were lowered to half-staff in Nice, Paris, Brussels and many capitals across Europe. Hollande announced a three-month extension to the state of emergency imposed after the 13 November attacks on Paris that killed 130 victims and the government declared three days of national mourning to begin on Saturday.
With inputs from agencies
21:41(IST) No Indian affected in Nice attack: MEA
No Indian is reported to have been affected in the Nice attack, confirmed the External Affairs Ministry.
"I have spoken to our Ambassador in France Shri Mohan Kumar. He has again confirmed that all Indians are safe," External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj tweeted.
Earlier, External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Vikas Swarup said "Our Ambassador in Paris is in touch with the Indian community in Nice. So far no report of any Indians affected."
With inputs from PTI 21:35(IST) Attack in line with jihadist calls to action: prosecutor
The truck attack, which killed 84 people at a Bastille Day fireworks display in Nice, is exactly in line with jihadist calls to action, French anti-terror prosecutor Francois Molins said on Friday.
Molins, who is leading the investigation into the massacre in Nice, said what had happened was "exactly in line with the constant calls to kill" which jihadi terror groups make in videos and elsewhere.
With inputs from AFP 21:27(IST) Scottish couple reported missing at Nice
A Scottish couple has been reported as missing after the attacks in Nice, reports
Family members said that they have been unable to locate 27-year-old Carole Annie Cowan and 30-year-old Ross Cowan after the attack. The couple was on holiday in Nice at the time.
Carole Annie Cowan's sister Amy Stanton said she has asked Britain's Foreign Office for help and has also posted an urgent appeal for aid on Facebook.
With inputs from AP 21:02(IST) Attacker was known to French police
Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, the man behind the Nice truck attack, was known to the police, reports
French prosecutor Francois Molins also echoed the same view, that Bouhlel was known to police and the courts, but unknown to intelligence officials.
With inputs from AFP 20:46(IST) Nice truck attacker's wife arrested for questioning
The Nice attacker's wife has been arrested for questioning, says Paris prosecutor Francois Molins, in a statement to the media. He added that 202 people were wounded in the Nice truck attack, 25 are on life support and 52 in critical condition. Among the dead were 10 children and teens.
With inputs from AP 20:43(IST) 'Driver rented truck'
Paris prosecutor Francois Molins, who is currently addressing the media says "driver rented the truck and hit people. A bank card, mobile phone and a grenade were all found in the truck."
20:40(IST) Paris prosecutor Francois Molins addresses media
"We will provide psychological and social help for the victims. I would like to thank state services, doctors and firemen for their help," says Paris prosecutor Francois Molins, in a statement to the media.
20:08(IST) UN Security Council holds moment of silence for Nice attack victims
UN Security Council envoys observed a moment of silence on Friday for the victims of the Bastille Day attack in Nice that left at least 84 dead, including many children.
The council chamber fell silent as ambassadors rose to their feet and bowed their heads at the start of a meeting called to discuss the situation in Iraq.
The 15-member council unanimously condemned the killings in a statement late Thursday, calling it a "barbaric and cowardly terrorist attack" and reaffirming that terrorism is one of the leading threats to world security.
French Ambassador Francois Delattre told reporters ahead of the meeting that there had been many expressions of support to France in the aftermath of the attack.
With inputs from AFP 19:48(IST) Ex-wife of France truck attack suspect held for questioning
AFP reports that the ex-wife of France truck attack suspect has been held for questioning, according to the police.
With inputs from AFP
19:44(IST) Tourist camera captures Nice attack
A German tourist Richard Gutjahr said he could hear angry shouts outside and saw a big white truck rolling slowly down a road supposed to be blocked off as a party zone. He picked up his camera — and captured a key moment in the terrible path of the Nice attack.
Gutjahr's footage, which was filmed from a first-floor hotel balcony, shows the truck chased by police officers. An unidentified motorcyclist pulls alongside the truck, leaps off his vehicle and clings to the door of the truck in a bid to stop the attacker. The motorcycle is partly crushed under the truck's tires as the motorcyclist, possibly a police officer, clings on and Gutjahr sees two other officers on foot take aim and fire individual shots at the truck's windscreen.
With inputs from AP 19:34(IST) Hollande at Pasteur Hospital
The Élysée, which is the official residence of the President of the French Republic, has put out pictures of Hollande meeting hospital staff in Nice.
19:27(IST) Police raided Nice attack suspect's old address, say neighbours
Several neighbors at the address listed for the man identified as the truck driver, who killed dozens of people in Nice, said police officers raided the 12th floor apartment earlier on Friday, but that the man had not lived there in three years.
The neighbours added that the apartment was occupied by the man's estranged wife, who was led away by authorities. The apartment showed visible signs of having been forced in, including a hole where the lock had been.
Four young men inside the apartment told
The Associated Press they were family of the wife, who they said was divorcing her husband.
The family members and the neighbors refused to identify themselves.
With inputs from AP 19:23(IST) Dallas hotel pays tribute
A hotel in Dallas has lit up in blue, white and red, the colours of the French flag, as a tribute to the victims of the truck attack in Nice, France.
With inputs from AP
19:13(IST) Victims include foreigners, children
French President Francois Hollande said Friday that "many foreigners" were among those killed or injured in a truck attack on a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice.
"There are French among the victims and also many foreigners from every continent and many children, young children," said Hollande in a speech from a hospital in the French Riviera city.
With inputs from AFP 18:51(IST) 'Whole world watching us'
Hollande in his statement after the Nice attack said that the government would continue to ensure protection to the French people. "In this fight we must rely on the commitment of the forces. Whole world is watching us once again and expressing solidarity, friendship. They know we are a strong country."
18:49(IST) 'An extraordinary job'
"Firemen have done an extraordinary job. Thanks to the staff of the hospital who have showed exemplary devotion," Hollande said in his statement to the media, after visiting a hospital in Nice.
He also added that hospital staff came in the middle of the night to save lives and that their service was exemplary.
18:47(IST) 'Commitment to courage'
"There's the commitment to courage by the security forces who had taken all the steps to make sure the fireworks display was protected. The forces were committed to neutralise the assassin. I still have in mind the policemen who acted so the killer could be removed," Hollande, who was looking sombre and flanked by French Prime Minister Manuel Valls, said after a visit to a hospital in Nice.
18:45(IST) Francois Hollande addresses media in Nice
President Hollande says that 84 people are dead and 50 people are oscillating between life and death. "A lot of people will bear this trauma for the rest of their lives."
18:33(IST) National Front leader calls for war against Islamic fundamentalism
Marine Le Pen, the leader of the far-right Front National,
extended her condolences to the families and friends of victims of the attack that struck Nice. "My support also goes to all those, including children, who, injured or spared, lived the horror and will be permanently marked," she said.
"We should see a succession of terrorist attacks and count the dead now without action," she added.
She said that "the war against the scourge of Islamic fundamentalism has not started, it is urgent now to declare. We really commit by implementing a series of measures that I have already detailed, which I shall have occasion to return, designed to tackle the source of the phenomenon."
18:22(IST) Interpol Response Team deployed to Nice
An Interpol Incident Response Team is being deployed to Nice to provide disaster victim identification assistance, the organisation's Twitter account said.
18:15(IST) Facebook helps find baby lost in Nice attack
An eight-month-old baby boy lost in the chaos after the Nice attack, has been tracked down through Facebook on Friday.
— who said she was not the mother of the baby — sent out an appeal on Facebook looking for any information on the whereabouts of the child who had been lost in his blue stroller, when the rampaging truck sent hundreds fleeing in panic as they watched Bastille Day fireworks.
The post was shared thousands of times until it was updated with: "Found! Thank you Facebook and all those who helped us."
Dozens of other people appealed through social media to find missing loved ones.
With inputs from AFP
Nice airport reopens
The alert at the Nice airport has been lifted with passengers who had been evacuated being allowed back into the terminal to pick up their bags.
The airport's website showed flights leaving and landing as usual. In a message posted to the site's home page, the airport said: "Despite the dreadful events that occurred, access to the airport and Air traffic won't be disrupted."
With inputs from AP 18:09(IST) Tour de France to continue as planned
The Tour de France rode on as planned Friday, with thousands of fans lining the roads and amid reinforced security a day after the deadly attack in Nice.
The carnage did not deter fans from showing up in numbers at the starting line in the small town of Bourg-Saint-Andeol.
There was a moment of silence at the start, several hours drive from Nice. Tour director Christian Prudhomme said there will be a ceremony, with a minute's silence at the finish as a tribute to the victims.
"Today, we want to pay homage to the victims with dignity," said Prudhomme, wearing a black armband around his blue shirt and holding back tears. "We have been asking ourselves if the race should continue and after consulting with authorities we have decided that it should. The Tour de France will continue in a subdued and solemn manner."
With inputs from AP 18:00(IST) World leaders express horror at attack; sympathy for France
United States: President Barack Obama said, "Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and other loved ones of those killed."
Britain: Prime Minister Theresa May called for nations to "redouble" efforts to defeat violent extremists, following the attack in Nice and also said that Britain will stand with France in its time of mourning.
Germany: Chancellor Angela Merkel pledged solidarity with France in the aftermath of the attack. Merkel, who was speaking on the sidelines of a summit in Mongolia, said, "I am completely convinced that we will win this fight despite all difficulties."
Russia: President Vladimir Putin said he was "shocked by the violence and exceptional cynicism" of Thursday's attack in Nice and sent condolences to French President Francois Hollande, saying that terrorism can be defeated only if "all civilised mankind pulls efforts together" to fight militants, their leaders as well as targeting their financial backers "wherever they are hiding."
Turkey: President Recep Tayyip Erdogan said the attack shows "terrorism has no religion, race or nationality. We need to see that for the terror organizations, there is no difference between Turkey and France, between Iraq and Belgium, between Saudi Arabia and the United States."
With inputs from AP
17:53(IST) UN chief calls for stepping up efforts to fight terrorism after Nice attack
UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon condemned the Bastille Day attack in the French city of Nice. He called for intensified efforts to confront terrorism and violent extremism.
A UN statement quoted Ban as saying that he "stands firmly behind the French government and people as they confront this threat and stresses the need to intensify regional and international efforts to combat terrorism and violent extremism". Ban also offered condolences to the victims' families after "this horrific act" and wished a speedy recovery to the many injured.
He further expressed hope that "all those responsible for this massacre will be rapidly identified and brought to justice".
With inputs from AFP 17:44(IST) Evacuation in progress at Nice airport
Passengers have been ordered out of Nice Airport, according to an
AP reporter, who is at the scene. The terminal building has been reportedly sealed off and military personnel are visible inside.
With inputs from AP 16:54(IST) Foreign nationals killed in Nice attack
Following up on our earlier update, the foreign ministries of Armenia and Ukraine say two Armenians and one Ukrainian were killed in Thursday's attack in Nice.
The foreign ministry of Armenia says two of its citizens were killed.
Ukrainian Foreign Minister Pavlo Klimkin says one Ukrainian was killed, but the ministry would not identify the victim citing the family's right to privacy. Two Ukrainians have been injured.
Switzerland's foreign ministry says a Swiss woman was killed, but declined to provide further details for privacy reasons.
With inputs from AP 16:46(IST)
Hollande and Valls arrive at Nice
French President Francois Hollande and Prime Minister Manuel Valls have both arrived in Nice by plane. The pair posed with Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve on the airport tarmac in a show of solidarity.
The three politicians met with security officials before driving off.
Cazeneuve was the first to travel to the scene of the massacre that left at least 84 dead.
With inputs from AP 16:36(IST) Russian, Armenian and Ukrainian victims as well
Le Monde reports that a Russian, an Armenian and a Ukrainian were also killed in the Nice terror attack.
15:56(IST) Two Americans killed in attack
US State Department The State Department announced that two Americans were killed in the bombing in Nice.
15:47(IST) In light of Friday's terror attack, read our in-depth series on 'Islamist terrorism'
Part one: Products of targeted violence, terrorists are not criminals or psychopaths
Part two: Terror attacks and perils of emotive criticism: Why we must not delink religion and terror
Part three: Terrorism is not just religion: Decoding the socio-political setups within Islamic State 15:37(IST) Belgium beefs up security ahead of national day celebrations
Belgium will beef up security for next week's national day celebrations after the truck attack in the French city of Nice on Bastille Day, Prime Minister Charles Michel said Friday.
The country is already on high alert after terror attacks in March claimed by the Islamic State group on Brussels airport and on the city's metro system left 32 people dead.
"We are determined to show that democracy is stronger than the terrorists," Michel told a news briefing in Brussels.
"We of course intend to take extra measures for events linked to the national holiday (on 21 July)," Michel said.
Michel said that despite the Nice attacks Belgium was keeping its terror alert level at the second-highest level of three, which means a threat is possible and likely.
Belgian authorities had previously anticipated a possible truck-style attack before the Nice carnage, in which at least 84 revellers were killed, Michel added.
"Without revealing our plans, we were already wary to the idea of this type of scenario," Michel said.
Several of those involved in the Brussels bloodshed were directly linked to the November attacks in Paris which left 130 dead.
Belgian authorities last month charged two men with terrorist offences amid reports of a planned attack on a Euro 2016 fanzone in central Brussels.
AFP 15:33(IST) London Mayor assesses security levels in the wake of Nice attacks
London Mayor Sadiq Khan said Friday he was reassessing security levels in the British capital in the wake of the Bastille Day attack in Nice.
Offering his sympathies to the people of Nice over the "unspeakable act of terror on a day of celebration", Khan said: "Today we will be reviewing our own safety measures in light of this attack."
Speaking during a visit to Gatwick Airport he added: "Londoners today stand united with Nice and all of France in our grief.
"They will not win. Not in France, not in London, not anywhere.
"We will defeat their poisonous and twisted ideology."
While Paris and Brussels have both suffered devastating jihadist attacks in the past year, Britain has been spared a major assault since the July 2005 bombings in London's public transport system.
After the November attacks in Paris, in which 130 people were killed, English football fans attending a France-England game memorably sang the French national anthem the Marseillaise to show solidarity with their neighbours.
AFP 15:19(IST) Truck driver identified as Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel According to the Independent, the man who killed more than 80 people with a truck in Nice has been locally identified.
Citing local sources, the driver of the truck has been identified by local newspaper Nice-Matin as 31-year-old Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, who is from Nice.
After finding id cards in the truck the police had said that they had formally identified the man. He killed 84 people on Thursday night during Bastille day celebrations. He had been shot down by the police at the end of the attack.
14:59(IST) Children's hospital treats about 50 kids.
The children's hospital in Nice says it has treated some 50 children and adolescents injured in the truck attack, including two who died during or after surgery.
Stephanie Simpson, the communications director for the Lenval foundation hospital, tells The Associated Press that injuries included fractures and head injuries and that the victims were aged 18 or under.
In a phone interview, she said: "Some are still life and death."
She said she could not say exact number of children hospitalized or the ages of those who died.
The hospital is also offering psychological counselling to parents and siblings.
The hospital, equipped with one of France's largest pediadiatric emergency units, also called the families of children it was already treating before the attack to ask them to pick up their children to free up rooms for the attack victims.
AP 14:37(IST) Top Sunni Muslim body urges unity to defeat 'terrorism' after Nice
Sunni Islam's leading seat of learning Al-Azhar on Friday condemned a deadly truck attack in Nice on France's national holiday, urging unity to "rid the world" of "terrorism."
"These vile terrorist attacks contradict Islamic teachings," the Cairo-based institution said in a statement after Thursday evening's attack, which killed at least 84 people and wounded scores more.
"Al-Azhar... affirms the necessity of uniting efforts to defeat terrorism and rid the world of its evil."
14:19(IST) Channels supportive of IS celebrate Nice killings
Shortly after a trucker mowed down at least 84 people in this French city, news channels supportive of the Islamic State cheered the carnage, The New York Times reported on Friday.
On one channel created on Thursday and called the United Cyber Caliphate, a message included a single word - France - followed by a smiley face.
The United Cyber Caliphate is run by a group that has previously tried to carry out cyber attacks in the Islamic State's name, the Times said.
Another suspected pro-IS channel showed an image of the Eiffel Tower going up in flames.
There was, however, no word of claim to the Nice attack from the Islamic State, the Times said.
"It typically takes the Islamic State several hours, and sometimes up to one and even two days, to assert responsibility for attacks in Western countries," the daily said.
"It typically does so through its Amaq channel on the encrypted telephone app Telegram, which serves as the group's news wire."
IANS 14:14(IST) Three-day national mourning
France declares three-day national mourning after truck attack: Manuel Valls, French PM
14:11(IST) Attacks aren't prepared alone: Christian Estrosi, regional president in Nice
Christian Estrosi, the regional president in Nice, said some of the city's 1,200 security cameras had pinpointed the moment the attacker boarded the truck, far from the seaside "in the hills of Nice" and could follow his path to the promenade. Estrosi called for the investigation to focus on any accomplices.
"Attacks aren't prepared alone. Attacks are prepared with accomplices," Estrosi said. "There is a chain of complicity. I expect it to be unveiled, discovered and kept up to date."
Estrosi said more than 10 children were among the dead and he said France needed to think carefully about its next response to attacks, as previous responses were not enough to protect the people.
Here are the major attacks that took place in France between 2015 and 2016 13:59(IST) Muslim, Gulf leaders condemn Nice attack
Leading Muslim clerics joined Gulf Arab leaders on Friday in condemning a truck attack that killed at least 84 revellers in the Mediterranean resort of Nice on France's national holiday.
Egypt's top Muslim cleric Shawki Allam condemned the assailant as an "extremist" who "follows in the footsteps of the devil."
"Islam never called for the spilling of blood," Allam said in a statement.
"People who commit such ugly crimes are corrupt of the earth, and follow in the footsteps of Satan... and are cursed in this life and in the hereafter."
The six Gulf Arab states issued a joint statement saying that they "strongly" condemned the "terrorist" act in Nice.
"The Gulf Cooperation Council states stand in solidarity with the French republic following this cowardly criminal incident whose perpetrators have been stripped of all moral and human values," the bloc's secretary general, Abdullatif al-Zayani, said.
Regional heavyweight Saudi Arabia issued its own statement condemning the "heinous terrorist" act, adding that it stands in "solidarity" with France and will "cooperate with it in confronting terrorist acts in all their forms."
United Arab Emirates Foreign Minister Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan said: "This heinous terrorist crime makes it imperative for all to work decisively and without hesitation to counter terrorism in all its forms and manifestations."
Both Saudi Arabia and the UAE are members of a US-led coalition which has carried out an air war against the Islamic State jihadist group in Syria alongside France.
AFP 13:49(IST) Among the first to die in Nice attack was Muslim woman
A middle-aged Muslim woman was among the first to be killed when a trucker mowed down 84 people here in a terror attack.
The woman was run over by the speeding white truck on the sidewalk next to Lenval beach during Bastille Day celebrations on Thursday night. She was killed instantly.
The New York Times reported on Friday that two of her sons and other family members stood weeping or frozen in stunned silence around her body that was covered in a pale blue tartan blanket.
The man who drove the truck through thousands massed at the beachfront is believed to be a French citizen of Tunisian origin. French authorities have called it a terror attack.
IANS 13:38(IST) Tour de France stage goes ahead, festivities off due to terror attack
Friday's 13th stage of the Tour de France will go ahead despite the terror attack which killed at least 84 people in Nice on Thursday night, Tour director Christian Prudhomme said.
But the publicity caravan that precedes the Tour along each stage route will be silent in memory of the terror attack victims.
A minute's silence will also be held on the victory podium as a mark of respect, added Prudhomme.
AFP 13:37(IST) Bastille Day attacker formally identified
Police sources say that the France truck attacker has been formally identified.
13:25(IST) Nice attack suspect: What we know
Reportedly, the suspect, whose name appears on a document found in the truck, is a Tunisian national born in 1985, resident of Nice and having a residence permit. It seems that he fired his 7. 65 when the police tried to intercept him. He was shot by two peacekeepers of the specialized field brigade.
As reported by Le Monde , a French publication 13:14(IST) Fresh details on the attack
According to local media, the driver of the truck managed to get to the Promenade Des Anglais after claiming he was delivering ice cream.
Watch: Aftermath of the truck attacks 13:00(IST) Russia extends solidarity
Russia 'in solidarity' with France over Nice attack: Kremlin
Watch: Hollande says France will strengthen its role in Syria and Iraq VIDEO 12:54(IST) Tour de France race leader sends messages of support
Tour de France riders including race leader Chris Froome sent messages of support to the victims of the deadly attack in Nice.
However, the international cycling event's organisers did not immediately say whether cycling's showpiece event will continue as planned.
12:50(IST) Deputy regional commander of the border guard unit was killed in Nice attack
The deputy regional commander of the border guard unit (PAF) was killed in the attack in #Nice.
It took three hours to the newly launched #French anti-terror app SAIP to send an alert.
12:47(IST) Reinforced controls over French border crossings
France24 reported: Operation Sentinelle, the thousands of soldiers deployed on the streets of France in the wake of the January 2015 Charlie Hebdo attacks, is to be boosted after last night’s events in Paris.
Italy’s Interior Minister announces that the country has reinforced controls at its French border crossings in the wake of the Nice attack.
12:35(IST) Nice was 'well-prepared' for a terrorist attack
In the recent months Nice had been preparing to overcome any terror event.
The city (which hosts every February the third most popular carnival in the world after Rio and Venice) had set up a safety device specific, coordinated by the Ministry of Interior.
A meeting took place on 5 February between the main leaders of the Alpes-Maritimes department and Bernard Cazeneuve, to prepare for the many complicated situations expected in the region throughout the year, the Cannes Film Festival in the Euro Cup.
Ahead of the Euro, Nice had to, like all host cities organise a simulation exercise on 8 March, in the presence of the GIGN. All security and emergency services forces were prepared for any eventuality, including the worst envisaged at this time.
Special attention had also been paid to the risk from the sea. All boats entering the bay had to be controlled. The "security of the sea" was among the recommendations made by an audit commissioned by David Lisnard, Mayor (LR ) Cannes, after the attacks of 13 November.
The study was led by Nitzan Nuriel, a former Israeli general, who was inspired by lessons learned from terrorist attacks conducted against hotels in Mumbai, India, and the stations in Madrid, Spain.
As reported by Le Monde , a French publication 12:28(IST) Zakir Naik condemns attack
In a press conference via skype, Zakir Naik condemned the attacks in Nice, France.
12:18(IST) French ambassador on Nice terror attack
India like France believes that there is no compromise with terrorists. This morning, in such a moment of distress, this historical friendship between India and France is cherished.
12:13(IST) Italy increases border control
Italy boosts controls at French border crossings after Nice attack, Italian Interior Minister, said on his Twitter feed.
12:09(IST) Germany at France's side in fight against terrorism: Merkel
Germany "stands alongside France in the fight against terrorism," Chancellor Angela Merkel said Friday, after a gunman killed more than 80 people by smashing a truck into a crowd in the resort of Nice.
"We are all united in shock," Merkel said on the sidelines of the two-day Asia-Europe summit, known as ASEM in Mongolia, adding that "words can barely express" what France's allies felt.
12:06(IST) City Marseille cancels fireworks display
The city of Marseille, located 200 kilometres west of Nice, announces that it has cancelled a fireworks display scheduled for Friday.
11:53(IST) Survivor recounts chilling experience
Journalist Damien Allemand was, like countless others, enjoying the fireworks at what was a laid-back evening on Thursday. He saw kids throwing rocks in the water. Suddenly, everything went wrong.
Police officers and a soldier stand by the sealed off area of an attack after a truck drove on to the sidewalk and plowed through a crowd of revelers who'd gathered to watch the fireworks in the French resort city of Nice, southern France, Friday, 15 July, 2016.
When he heard screams from a distance, Allemand — who works for digital service Nice-Matin — thought some fireworks may have gone out of control.
"A fraction of a second later, a huge white truck flew by at a crazy speed, driving over people, twisting the wheel to cut down the maximum number of people," he said, recalling those deathly moments.
"This truck of death passed a few meters away from me and I didn't realize it. I saw bodies fly like bowling pins along its path. Heard noises, screaming that I will never forget. I was frozen with fear," he wrote in a post.
Frightened, Allemand briefly took refuge in a restaurant,
Le Cocodile, but headed out because he needed to know what was happening.
What he saw numbed him. "The Prom (seaside path near the beach) was deserted. Not a noise. Not a siren. Not a single car. So I crossed the traffic island to go back to the truck's path," he said.
"I bumped into Raymond, around 50, in tears, who gasped, 'There are dead bodies everywhere.' He was right. Every five meters, there were bodies — lifeless, limbs... blood," Allemand added.
According to Allemand, the beach attendants were the first on the scene. They brought water for the wounded and towels that they spread over those for whom there was no hope.
Allemand wanted to help but according to his own words, "Just then, I lost my nerve. I would have loved to help, to be of service — to do anything. But I froze again."
11:44(IST) Rahul Gandhi condemns terror attacks
Condemning the terror attack in Nice, Congress Vice President Rahul Gandhi on Friday said "violence and terror cannot be the answer to anything".
"I strongly condemn the attack. Our only hope for peace, progress and happiness is a shared humanity. Violence and terror can never be the answer," Gandhi tweeted.
"My heart goes out to the people of France as they mourn those who lost their lives in the horrific attack in Nice," he added.
11:40(IST) Eyewitnesses share testimonies
Nurses had told some of those waiting that the medical team didn't have time to take records of the identities of the wounded because the priority was treatment.
Patients were being classified by numbers.
At the scene of the attack on the Promenade des Anglais, bodies lay covered in white sheets and witnesses could barely believe what they had seen.
"I saw bodies flying like skittles as it drove along," said local journalist Damien Allemand on the Nice-Matin newspaper's web site. "I just froze ... The beach attendants were the first on the scene. They brought water for the wounded and towels that they placed over those for whom there was no hope."
Back in the hospital, Marco de Feo, 29 from Milan, said he and his four friends had only learned of the celebration from their hosts, a Romanian couple living in Nice, and decided to go along at the last minute.
"I saw a truck turning into the road and driving fast in our direction," he said.
"Luckily I saw it in time to avoid it, but our friend got hit and fell on the ground. We fled to the beach and then found shelter in a hotel. One of our friends went back on the scene to carry our injured friend who couldn't move nor speak but was still breathing. She was then taken to hospital in an ambulance."
The driver of the truck was shot dead by police, but some witnesses said they thought he was firing a gun as he drove.
I saw this enormous white truck go past at top speed," said Suzy Wargniez, a local woman aged 65 who saw the scene unfold from a cafe on the promenade.
"It was shooting, shooting."
Reuters 11:37(IST) President Pranab Mukherjee write to Francois Hollande
President Pranab Mukherjee on Friday wrote to his French counterpart Francois Hollande to convey condolences on the deaths in the "heinous" terror act in Nice and said India stands with France in its fight against terrorism.
In his message, Mukherjee said, "I am deeply pained to learn that France is once again afflicted by a major tragedy caused by a heinous act of terror last evening. The pre-meditated massacre of innocent people as they were participating in Bastille Day celebrations - including, sadly, many children, is an unspeakable crime."
"Please accept my heartfelt condolences on this shocking incident. The people of India stand beside the people of France with solidarity and sympathy. We share your grief at the loss of lives and pray for the swift recovery of the injured," Mukherjee wrote in his message.
11:34(IST) Boris Johnson: Shocked and saddened
British Foreign Minister Boris Johnson says he was shocked and saddened by the appalling events in Nice, and the terrible loss of life.
11:29(IST) Nice attacker identified
The gunman who killed at least 80 people when he drove a heavy truck into a crowd in Nice was a 31 year-old Franco-Tunisian born in Tunisia, a police source close to the investigation said.
The man was not on the watch list of French intelligence services, but was known to police in connection with common law crimes such as theft and violence, the source said.
Reuters 11:27(IST) Social media bursts with illustrations commemorating the Nice attacks
11:19(IST) Watch out for lone wolf attacks, intelligence alert in India
Security agencies have been asked to keep an eye out for lone wolf attacks and intelligence alert has been in issued in India.
11:18(IST) Using vehicles is a classic terrorist strategy
France24, French defence expert Pierre Conesa said that Nice truck attack, using transportation to kill as many people as possible, is a ‘classic terrorist strategy’.
11:09(IST) World leaders react to the deadly Nice attacks
11:07(IST) #PrayForNice trends on Twitter and other social media
11:01(IST) 10:56(IST) Sonia Gandhi condemns Nice attack
Congress President Sonia Gandhi on Friday "strongly" condemned the "terror" attack in Nice in France and called for strict action and harsh punishment against those behind it. Expressing grief Gandhi said, "This deadly attack reflects deep resentment to peace and democratic values." She also expressed deepest condolences to the families of those killed and called for a "strict action and harsh punishment against those who are behind the attack". "The Congress party stands firmly with the people of France in these difficult times," Gandhi said. At least 80 people were killed on Thursday night when a large truck mowed through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice. IANS 10:43(IST) Facebook activates 'Safety Check' feature
Facebook has activated its Safety Check function after the Nice attack to allow people to check in as safe.
10:41(IST) Demonstrations cancelled
The French interior ministry says all demonstrations planned in Nice in the coming days have been cancelled due to Thursday's attack.
10:40(IST) French police asks people to exercise restraint
French police are asking people to not share images or footage of the scene of the attack out of respect for the victims and their families.
10:33(IST) Jean-Luc Mélenchon, French politician writes on Facebook about the Nice Attacks
"We would have liked just summer evenings in the gentle night. Just a 14 July with fireworks and also the sound of simple things. And here is the return of one of these absurd assasins, the cries and death. Then we allow waves of emotions to take over us. Then we have to choose words to offer solace. But what can we say to them at this time. We have to share the suffering and have humanity that was missing in the coward in the truck. The feeling that others are fellow human beings and nothing can happen to them without our involvement." 10:26(IST) Inactive grenade found in truck
According to France 24, a source told
AFP thatan "inactive" grenade was found inside the 19-tonne truck, as well as "several fake rifles." 10:22(IST) Marine Le Pen, President of National Front Party tweeted:
"A nouveau la France plongée dans l'horreur. Pensées pour les victimes. La lutte contre le fondamentalisme islamiste doit démarrer MLP #Nice"
"Again the France plunged into horror. Thoughts for the victims. The struggle against Islamic fundamentalism should start MLP #Nice"
10:19(IST) No Indian affected in Nice: Ministry of External Affairs (India) Spokesperson, Vikas Swarup
Vikas Swarup assured support from the Indian government to the citizens of India in France.
10:15(IST) Watch: French Interior Minister shares details
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told reporters on the scene that the death toll stood at 80, with scores injured including 18 in "critical condition".
Nice attacks: Local press coverage 10:03(IST)
Nice Attacks: The story so far 09:50(IST) No fire at Eiffel Tower, police ask people to not spread false rumours
"Do not spread false rumors . No fire at #TourEiffel . Accidental fire truck took place in Jena bridge. It's off."
09:43(IST) Driver fired pistol
Driver of Nice truck fired pistol before being shot dead: Investigative sources
09:38(IST) How a vehicle became a weapon in Nice attacks
Transforming a vehicle into a simple but deadly weapon of terror — as happened to such bloody effect in Nice on Thursday — is a tactic well known to intelligence agencies.
A truck smashed into revellers celebrating France's Bastille Day, killing at least 80 and injuring scores as its ploughed two kilometres through the crowd.
Western authorities have had to deal with three similar attacks in recent years: two in Britain and another in Canada.
In May 2013, two Islamists smashed their car into British soldier Lee Rigby before attempting to behead him on a London street in broad daylight. The pair, who were of Nigerian heritage, said they attacked the 25-year-old fusilier to avenge the deaths of Muslims at the hands of British troops.
Just 18 months later, a man claiming to be acting in the name of radical jihad ran over and killed Canadian soldier Patrice Vincent, also injuring a second man. Shortly after, the 25-year-old Muslim convert, Martin Couture-Rouleau, called the police emergency line to dedicate his attack to the cause of jihad.
And in June 2007, two men in a burning jeep smashed into the main terminal building at Scotland's Glasgow Airport. One of the men was jailed for life, with the judge describing him as a "religious extremist".
For several years, extremist groups such as Islamic State and Al-Qaeda have exhorted followers via videos or messages to carry out such attacks using whatever comes to hand.
In September 2014, Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, an IS spokesman who Western intelligence agencies have dubbed the group's "attacks minister", issued chilling instructions that some have since apparently followed.
"If you cannot (detonate) a bomb or (fire) a bullet, arrange to meet alone with a French or an American infidel and bash his skull in with a rock, slaughter him with a knife, run him over with your car, throw him off a cliff, strangle him, or inject him with poison," he said.
Al-Adnani said there was no need to "consult anyone" as all unbelievers are fair game: "It is immaterial if the infidel is a combatant or a civilian... They are both enemies. The blood of both is permitted."
The truck's path of destruction in the Nice 09:27(IST) Nice attacks overshadows Asia-Europe meeting
The Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), held every two years and which is celebrating its 20th anniversary, is supposed to be a venue for increasing cooperation across the Eurasian region and exploring ways to strengthen the global system of agreements that govern everything from trade to civil aviation.
Counter-terrorism efforts had been due to be discussed, but the issue was given renewed urgency by the outrage in Nice, where a truck ploughed into Bastille Day revellers, killing at least 80 in what President Francois Hollande called a "terrorist" attack.
AFP 09:23(IST) Mayor of Paris remembers 13 November attacks
Eight months after the attacks of 13 November in Paris and Saint-Denis. The Mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, sent a message of support to the people of Nice: "I learned with horror the attack occurred that night in Nice, which left more than 70 dead and dozens injured. This barbaric act hit innocent blindly gathered on the Promenade des Anglais to celebrate our National Day and the founding values of our Republic," she said.
"My first thoughts are with the victims, their loved ones and to all Nice. I want to tell them, as I have said it on the phone to Christian Estrosi, we share their pain and we stand with them in solidarity and mourning," she said. She asked "services of the City of Paris to half-mast, on Friday morning, the flags present in our buildings."
"While it is too early to know the motivation of the perpetrator, the magnitude of this tragedy rekindles in us the terrible memories of 13 November. We must have intransigence and firmness with regard to those who attack us, but also unity and living together for our people."
As reported by Paris Match 09:15(IST) Eighteen people in critical condition
Eighteen people are still in a state of absolute urgency, said the interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve. The truck driver was shot.
The formal identification of the driver is still going on.
Watch: How the terror attacks unfolded 08:25(IST) UN Security Council condemns attack
The UN Security Council on Thursday strongly condemned the "barbaric and cowardly terrorist attack" that took place during Bastille Day celebrations in the French city of Nice.
At least 80 people including children were killed and dozens injured when the attacker drove a truck through a crowd watching a fireworks display to mark the holiday.
The council unanimously adopted a French-drafted statement that "condemned in the strongest terms" the attack and expressed condolences to the families of the victims.
The council reaffirmed that terrorism constitutes one of the most serious threats to world peace and security.
"Any acts of terrorism are criminal and unjustifiable," said the statement from the 15 council members.
The attack was the third major strike against France in less than 18 months.
AFP 08:24(IST) Donald Tusk expresses concern
"Tragic paradox that the subject of Nice attack was the people celebrating liberty, equality and fraternity"
Barack Obama's statement after the attacks 08:19(IST)
Donald Trump says it is only getting worse 08:16(IST) Pranab Mukherjee express condolences
08:11(IST) Appalled by attacks: Narendra Modi
08:10(IST) 08:06(IST) Watch: People run away from the scene
Other witnesses described hearing gunfire, although this was not immediately confirmed by the authorities.
Police could be seen surrounding the truck in the early hours of Friday, its windscreen riddled with bullet holes, under the lights of the Negresco Hotel.
Witness Roy Calley, who said he lived 200 metres from the promenade, told the BBC there was "all hell breaking loose" and the situation was "pretty horrendous".
"It was a celebratory atmosphere, it was fun, people were enjoying themselves.
Suddenly I heard a huge, what I can only describe as maybe an explosion or a crash.
A lot of people were screaming. That was followed by what I thought were maybe gunshots."
Australian Emily Watkins said she was less than 50 metres away from the incident and saw the truck on the promenade but did not realise what was happening.
"There was a lot of confusion. I don't actually remember seeing the truck moving," she told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.
"There was a lot of screams coming from ahead of us where the truck was, and people just running towards us and without really knowing what was going on we turned and ran as well.
"As we were running away we could hear what I thought at the time were more flares or fireworks.
"People were tripping over and trying to get into hotel lobbies and restaurants or car parks or anywhere they could to get away from the street."
Her partner David Cody, an ABC producer, added: "People were tripping over in the commotion, there was a lot of panic.
"People were trying to get into hotels, any businesses that were open, trying to take shelter, because it was unclear what was happening.
"With each bang that we heard behind us, people perhaps started to go a bit faster, people were tripping over, it was a very chaotic scene."
Earlier in the evening, as the crowds enjoyed the fireworks, lightning had flashed in the skies above the Riviera resort.
AFP 08:00(IST) State of emergency extended for 3 more months
French President Francois Hollande said Friday that France's state of emergency would be extended for another three months after the truck attack in Nice.
The state of emergency has been in place since November's jihadist attacks in Paris, and was due to be lifted on 26 July.
Nice: A truck loaded with weapons and hand grenades drove onto a sidewalk for more than a mile, plowing through Bastille Day revelers who'd gathered to watch fireworks in the French resort city of Nice late Thursday. At least 77 people were killed before police killed the driver, authorities said.
Nice prosecutor Jean-Michel Pretre described a horrific scene, with bodies strewn about along the roadway and Sylvie Toffin, a press officer with the local prefecture, said the truck ran over people on a "long trip" down the sidewalk near Nice's Palais de la Mediterranee, a building that fronts the beach.
Wassim Bouhlel, a Nice native who spoke to
AP nearby, said that he saw a truck drive into the crowd. "There was carnage on the road," he said. "Bodies everywhere."
The Paris prosecutor's office opened an investigation for "murder, attempted murder in an organized group linked to a terrorist enterprise."
Police officers and a soldier stand by the sealed off area of an attack after a truck drove on to the sidewalk and plowed through a crowd of revelers who'd gathered to watch the fireworks in the French resort city of Nice on Thursday night. AP
The ranking politician of the Alpes-Maritime department that includes Nice said the truck plowed into the crowd over a distance of 2 kilometers (1.2 miles), killing 77 people and wounding 50. Many of those on the ground were in shorts and other summer clothing.
Eric Ciotti said on
BFM TV that police killed the driver "apparently after an exchange of gunfire."
The president of the Provence Alpes Côte d'Azur regional council, which includes Nice, said the truck was loaded with arms and grenades. Christian Estrosi told
BFM TV that "the driver fired on the crowd, according to the police who killed him."
Bouhlel said he witnessed the man emerge with a gun and start shooting.
Images being broadcast across French media showed revelers running for their lives down Nice's palm tree-lined Promenade des Anglais, the famous seaside boulevard named for the English aristocrats who proposed its construction in the 19th Century.
Video footage showed men and women — one or two pushing strollers — racing to get away from the scenes. And, in what appeared to be evidence of a gun battle, photos showed a truck with at least half a dozen bullet holes punched through its windshield.
It was not immediately clear who would have been behind an attack, but France has recently seen a spate of dramatic assaults from by jihadist groups, including the Islamic State group which straddles Iraq and Syria.
President Barack Obama condemned what he said "appears to be a horrific terrorist attack."
"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and other loved ones of those killed," he said.
European Council president Donald Tusk said it was a "tragic paradox" that the victims of the attack in Nice were celebrating "liberty, equality and fraternity" — France's motto — on the country's national day.
France's ambassador to the United States, Gerard Araud, characterised the events as a "terrorist attack."
Writing online, Nice Matin journalist Damien Allemand who was at the waterside said the fireworks display had finished and the crowd had got up to leave when they heard a noise and cries.
"A fraction of a second later, an enormous white truck came along at a crazy speed, turning the wheel to mow down the maximum number of people," he said.
"I saw bodies flying like bowling pins along its route. Heard noises, cries that I will never forget."
Graphic footage showed a scene of horror up and down the Promenade, with broken bodies splayed out on the asphalt, some of them piled near one another, others bleeding out onto the roadway or twisted into unnatural shapes.
"Help my mother, please!" one person yells out amid a cacophony of screaming and crying. A pink girl's bicycle is briefly seen overturned by the side of the road.
The origin and authenticity of the footage could not immediately be verified.
Kayla Repan, of Boca Raton, Florida, was among the hundreds gathered on the promenade to watch fireworks.
"The whole city was running. I got extremely frightened and ran away from the promenade," she said. "It was chaos."
With inputs from AP
First Published On : Jul 15, 2016 20:48 IST