Terror In Nice: What We Know

It seems not a week goes by in 2016 without the announcement of a terror attack.

The Orlando club massacre. The assassination of Jo Cox. The bombings of Brussels and Istanbul airports.

This morning the world wakes to yet another dark shadow, cast across a tormented year.

As France celebrated Bastille Day on the evening of July 14, a terrorist attacker drove a lorry into jubilant crowds on a promenade in Nice. Driving for two kilometres, the killer ploughed down hundreds of innocent people.

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Here is what we know so far:

The death count currently stands at 84.

The driver is reported to have ‘zig-zagged’ through the crowd with the intention of killing as many people as possible.

84 people have died, with 18 currently in critical condition in hospital.

The lorry had a dangerous cargo

Aside from the murderer at the wheel, the lorry was also loaded with hand grenades and weapons. Some reports have said that the grenades were inactive, but these remain unverified.

The lorry was rented a few days before the attack.

State of Emergency

France’s state of emergency, put in place after the 2015 Paris attacks and due to expire on 26 July, is to be extended for three months.

At a press conference, French Prime Minister Francois Hollande said:

“France as a whole is under the threat of Islamic terrorism.We have to demonstrate absolute vigilance and show determination that is unfailing.”

He also promised to reinforce France’s actions in Syria and Iraq in wake of the massacre. France has provided 3,500 troops to train Iraqis and the nation’s fighter jets have targeted ISIS in an ‘intensive air campaign’ on over 3,000 missions.

France is central in the US-led coalition against ISIS, working within Syria and Iraq.

Although the attacker has not been named, sources say he was known to police.

The attacker, who was of dual French and Tunisian nationality, was not known to have any terror links but had been involved in armed attacks previously.

The Telegraph reports:

“He was known to the police for violence, and using weapons, but had no direct links with terrorism,” said an investigating source.

This will be of concern to French police, who have suffered several terrorist attacks in the last year.

The attacker was killed in police gunfire.

As the attacker drove through the streets, he shot at victims through the window of the lorry.

He engaged in gunfire with police through the windscreen of the vehicle, before being killed at the wheel.

 

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