OVER 80 KILLED IN NICE BASTILLE DAY RAMPAGE ATTACK – UPDATE
At least 84 people have died, including 10 children, after a 19 tons lorry slammed through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day, the 07/14/2016 at about 23:00 local time, in the southern French city of Nice on the Promenade des Anglais, over 200 were aounded . The attack in Nice began shortly after the end of a firework display on the seafront for Bastille Day, which is the country’s national holiday.
The driver ploughed on for 2km (1.2 miles) before being shot dead by police. Police reportedly found guns and grenades inside the lorry suggesting a premeditated attack. A police source has told AFP that the truck “changed route at least once” as it ploughed through crowds.
According to eyewitnesses the driver jumped out of his lorry picked up his gun and started to shoot police. Afterwards he ran towards the beach with others, fearing the driver, who has then shot by police, would detonate the lorry.
The driver was identified as a dual French-Tunisian citizen Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, 31, who lived locally and his ID card found in the truck The attacker was not known to the intelligence services, suggesting he has no previous background in terrorism offences.
The fact Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel was not on the watch list will be of grave concern as an investigation into last year’s Paris attacks identified multiple failings by France’s intelligence agencies.
The truck was a rented vehicle “a few days ago” in the South East of France near Nice .
The Islamic State has claimed, on early Saturday 07/16/2016, retroactively, responsibility for the truck attack in Nice, according to a tweet related to ISIS-affiliated Amaq news agency.
Five people believed to be linked to Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel are in police custody, the Paris prosecutor’s office said, on Saturday 07/16/2016. Two arrests were made on Friday including his divorce Hajer Khalfallah, Three more arrests were made on Saturday . counterterrorism investigation into an associate of Omar Diaby, a 41-year-old Senegalese jihadi who lived in Nice before traveling to Syria. Omar Diaby, who calls himself Omar Omsen, commands a French jihadi batallion in Syria affiliated with Jabhat al-Nusra, al Qaeda’s branch in Syria. Investigators are looking into the nature of the links between Bouhlel and Diaby’s associate, but they cannot rule out that the two were possibly just part of the same social circle.
French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said, on Saturday 07/16/2016, Lahouaiej Bouhlel seemed to have been “radicalised very quickly”. Bouhel was reportedly radicalized in a Mosque he began attending in 04/2016. Police checked his telephone records and noted that Bouhlel spoke with individuals they believed were associated with radical Islamic organizations.
* A man and a woman have been arrested, on Sunday 07/17/2016, in Nice in connection with the Bastille Day lorry attack, French judicial sources have said.
** Five suspects, detained after the Nice rampage, four men and one woman, aged between 22 and 40, have appeared in court in France, on Thursday 07/21/2016, charged with terror offences in relation to the Nice truck attack. The five are : Franco-Tunisians Ramzi A and Mohamed Oualid G; Chokri C, , a Tunisian citizen, were charged as accomplices in “murder by a group with terror links”. An Albanian man Artan and a woman who is a French-Albanian dual national, Enkeldja, are suspected of providing Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel with a pistol and were charged with “breaking the law on weapons in relation to a terrorist group”.
One of the suspects returned to the scene of the attack the following day to film the aftermath, French prosecutor Francois Molins said.
None of those detained were known to French intelligence prior to the attack, although Ramzi A had previous convictions for drugs and petty crime, Mr Molins, the Nice prosecutor, said. He also added information from Lahouaiej-Bouhlel’s phone showed searches and photos that indicated he had been studying an attack since 2015.
*** Nice is a worldwide known luxury tourist resort with a population of about 1 Million people, about 25% of whom Muslims. About 100 of Nice’s Muslims traveled to Iraq and Syria to join all kinds of Jihadi groups, mainly the Islamic State, it is the highest rate of Jihadists traveling abroad to join Jihad in all the non Muslim world. Just recently, on Saturday 07/02/2016, Saudi-funded Mosque, one of the bigest in Europe, opened in Nice after long 15 years struggle
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