Yesterday night, a gunman ploughed a truck into a large crowd of people celebrating Bastille Day in Nice for 2km before being shot dead by police. Witnesses say the speeding lorry swerved and zigzagged in an apparent attempt to hit more people. Police reportedly found guns and grenades inside the lorry.
France’s President Francois Hollande said the attack was of “an undeniable terrorist nature”, and three days of national mourning have been declared. A state of emergency, in place since November’s Paris attacks, in which 130 people died, has been extended.
The terrorist has been named as Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, a 31-year-old male French national of Tunisian descent.
Prime Minister Theresa May said: “I am shocked and saddened by the horrifying attack in Nice last night. Our hearts go out to the French people and to all those who’ve lost loved ones or been injured. While the full picture is still emerging, it seems that at least 80 people are feared dead and many others have been injured. These were innocent victims enjoying a national celebration with their friends and families. We are working urgently to establish whether any British nationals were caught up in the attack”.
The Prime Minister underlined: “If, as we fear, this was a terrorist attack, then we must redouble our efforts to defeat these brutal murderers who want to destroy our way of life. We must work with France and our partners around the world to stand up for our values and for our freedom”.
Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said he was “shocked and saddened by the appalling events in Nice, and the terrible loss of life”.
Expressing his sorrow over the attack, Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said: “Israel strongly condemns the terrible terror attack. Israelis stand united with the French people”.
He added: “Israel is willing to help the French government to fight this evil until it is defeated”.
Israel’s President Reuven Rivlin sent a letter of condolences to the French President, and urged a united global front against terrorism: “It is with pain and sorrow that I must once again write and express my deepest condolences, and those of all the Israeli people, following the horrific terror attack in Nice”.
France has suffered a number of deadly Islamist terror attacks in recent years. Last November, 130 people were killed in terror attacks in Paris committed by ISIS terrorists.