UPDATE. The attacker has been identified as Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, 31. Originally from Tunisia, Bouhlel was not on any French terror watch lists. He was considered by people who knew him as a loner and not particularly religious.
Today the death toll sits at 84. Another 202 people were injured in the truck attack and 54 are in critical condition. Ten of the killed were minors.
The weapons found in the cab of the truck were replicas and toys, none functional, reports the BBC.
At least 77 people were killed and more than four dozen more people were injured in a truck attack in Nice, France. The attack took place during the city’s Bastille Day celebration this July 14. The attacker plowed a truck through the crowds and chased people down as they tried to get to safety.
Police shot and killed the driver shortly after the rampage started. Authorities have not released the identity of the driver, who may or may not have been acting alone. Police say they found other weapons in the truck including firearms and explosives. Early reports indicated that 150 people were killed. The true number of deaths may be higher than 77 still.
“The whole area is pedestrianised and the lorry came down the south side,” said one witness to the Sun. “It crushed the crowd like a bowling ball. Everything in its path was crushed.”
“Thank God we decided not to take the young ones,” said Yves Lamorelle to USA Today. “I am the only one who went. It was completely crazy, the crowd panicked and everyone was trying to flee.” USA Today has a photographic account of the terrible event.
“I was having a drink but after a few minutes people started running toward us from the promenade,” said Lamorelle. “Then all the cafe terraces started to clear out in a scary type of chaos. The tables, the chairs, the glasses got turned over. People were stepping on top of each other without even knowing why.”
This is the worst attack on French soil since the coordinated attacks on Paris last November, which saw 130 killed and many more wounded. No organization has taken credit for the truck attack so far.
Nice’s mayor, Christian Estrosi, with other French officials, are warning people to stay inside for the night, until the city is secured.
Presidential hopeful Donald Trump and the President have issued statements following the truck attack.
“Another horrific attack, this time in Nice, France. Many dead and injured. When will we learn? It is only getting worse,” said Trump via Twitter. Trump also added that in light of the event he will postpone his announcement to select a running mate.
“On behalf of the American people, I condemn in the strongest terms what appears to be a horrific terrorist attack in Nice, France, which killed and wounded dozens of innocent civilians,” said the President. “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and other loved ones of those killed, and we wish a full recovery for the many wounded. 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.
“We stand in solidarity and partnership with France, our oldest ally, as they respond to and recover from this attack,” he said.
This attack took place just days after the French Parliament concluded their inquiry on the state of national security in France. The inquiry recommended that France establish a unified intelligence service and bring together its major law enforcement and security agencies.
Bastille Day is the celebration of the attack on the French Bastille prison fortress on July 14, 1789, an early hallmark of the French Revolution. France’s Fête de la Fédération has been held on the 14th of July every year since starting in 1790.