15 Jul 2016

Nice lorry attack: dozens killed on Bastille Day

At least 84 people, including children, are killed after a man drives a lorry through crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, in what the French authorities are calling a terror attack.

Eyewitnesses said the killer swerved from side to side to kill as many people as possible as he drove for more than a mile along the Promenade des Anglais on the seafront of the city in the south of France.

At first horrified onlookers, who had been watching a fireworks display, assumed the driver had lost control, but one one witness said he then produced a gun before being shot dead by police.

Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi said 10 children were among the dead and that guns and grenades had been found in the lorry. Some 50 people were injured and the authorities are trying to establish if the driver was acting alone.

The state of emergency imposed after the Paris attacks in November has been extended for a further three months,

The driver of the lorry was a 31-year-old French-Tunisian man. Sources say he was known to police for petty crime, but was not on the radar of the intelligence services.

So far, there have been no claims of responsibility, but the so-called Islamic State group had called on its followers to carry out attacks using vehciles.

‘France is in tears’

French President Francois Hollande said: “France has been hit by a tragedy once again. This monstrosity of using a lorry to deliberately kill people, many people, who only came out to celebrate their national day.

“France is in tears. It is hurting but it is strong, and she will be strong, always stronger than the fanatics who wish to hurt us.”

President Hollande said France’s borders would be tightened, with “real force and military action in Syria and Iraq” against IS.

Lawyer Harjit Sarang and her children were among those caught up in the terror. The Londoner tweeted: “Running through crowds in Nice with kids and terrified. Never taking kids to a public event again. Finally back to hotel. Hate this!”

Briton Will Shore told BBC Radio 4: “There was a lot of people screaming, running around and people were kind of being pushed over, I think, from people just being so frightened about what was going on, especially after hearing the gunshots.I had to help a couple of people up who were in distress on the floor because everyone was in such a panic.”


A Downing Street spokesman said: “The Prime Minister is being kept updated on reports coming in from Nice. We are shocked and concerned by the scenes there. Our thoughts are with all those affected by this terrible incident on what was a day of national celebration.

“The FCO are in touch with the local authorities to seek more information and we stand ready to help any British nationals and to support our French partners.”

New Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson tweeted that he was “shocked and saddened by the appalling events in Nice, and the terrible loss of life”.

In November, 130 people were killed in IS terror attacks at a concert hall, football stadium and restaurants and bars in Paris. The previous January, 12 staff at Charlie Hebdo magazine in the French capital were shot dead killed, while four others were killed at a kosher supermarket.