Bastille Day atrocity as 84 killed in Nice truck attack

THE French nation is in mourning once again after a man drove a large truck loaded with weaponry through crowds celebrating Bastille Day in the southern city of Nice on Thursday evening killing at least 84 people. 

Devastating reports have emerged of parents throwing children over fences as the driver zigzagged through the packed streets while firing on the crowd causing a huge stampede. 

Blood-stained streets are still covered in bodies with witnesses describing mothers lead their children through the locked down area with their eyes closed. Psychological treatment is being provided to survivors and Nice hospitals have launched an appeal for blood donations. 

More information is sure to follow but preliminary investigations indicate the driver, who was eventually shot dead by police, was a dual French-Tunisian citizen and local resident aged 31 who was known to police but for a petty criminal record not terrorist activity. 

No specific group has claimed responsibility but French authorities are treating the massacre as a terrorist attack and have extended the country’s state of emergency, due to expire on July 26, for a further three months. 

Describing the attack as a “monstrosity” president Francois Hollande announced the deployment of the military to support police and secure borders.

International messages of condemnation and support have been swift with the US president Barack Obama, the United Nations, China and Russia among those issuing public statements. 

The atrocity comes just weeks after a parliamentary investigation into last year’s coordinated attacks in Paris that killed 147 civilians found that there was a “global failure” of French intelligence. 

Bastille Day is a hugely popular national holiday considered symbolic of the spirit of the French republic and the attack will be considered an assault on French identity as it reinforces a climate of fear in large public gatherings. 

In Spain acting prime minister Mariano Rajoy addressed the nation on television at 9am on Friday morning to offer his condolences and announce that the domestic terror alert level had been raised and an emergency threat meeting held later this morning. 

Border security has been significantly tightened and a minute’s silence will be held at midday to express solidarity with France and the victims. 

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    • margaret rothwell

      15 July 2016 • 10:22

      Another huge tragedy thanks to the utter incompetence of the French police. The Bastille Day festivities always attract huge crowds and in Nice yesterday people were actively being encouraged to partake. So why was the promenade not closed to traffic say from 7am and any parked cars remaining after that time removed by the owners or grua.

    • Michel

      15 July 2016 • 13:56

      Margaret what utter crap
      I am here feeling the pain hearing the anger.
      There is only one culprit – the cowardly terrorist bastards who say they are doing it in the name of religion.
      The French police and emergency services did a fantastic job.
      Now it is time for people to wake up and make a stand.
      It was a family day to celebrate FREEDOM.
      Instead we received barbaric carnage.
      Now we demand FREEDOM
      FREEDOM to be safe from these evil bastards
      No more political correctness.
      We destroy them before they kill anymore innocent babes in arms.
      Margaret wake up and smell the blood that is soon to be pouring down all of our streets including yours.

    • Brian Eagleson

      15 July 2016 • 15:46

      I share your anger Michel, against this terrorist and his backers as any decent person would. But please do not deflect it onto Margaret simply because she has apportioned some blame on the French police.

      It is emerging that the reason why the truck was allowed to enter the Promenade in the first place was because the driver initially told police that he was “delivering ice cream” The police believed him and waved him on. Only later did they realise something was wrong.

      Dreadful terrorist events like this are never clear cut. The outcome depends not only on the terrorists themselves but also on the level of police vigilance and the actions they take.

      Margaret is quite right to point out that, during an already severe threat level and during Bastille Day celebrations, a crowded promenade should have been closed to traffic – completely. No question of that. If it had been, then some or possibly even all of the dead and injured might still be walking around today. Maybe the driver would still have attempted something else, but the outcome would have been quite different.

      Nous sommes Nice. All of us.


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