On July 14, 2016 , Mohamad Lahouaiej Bouhel a 31 year old Frenchman with Tunisian origin, drove a delivery truck into a crowded street in Nice, France following a fireworks display celebrating Bastille Day. The driver of the truck drove in a zig-zag manner over 30 mph hitting anyone in his path. Authorities state there were other weapons in the truck. Bouhel was killed by police as he exited the vehicle with a gun. An eye witnesses describes how police took down the attacker:
The driver of the truck that plowed through the crowd on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice on Thursday night halted his bloody rampage only when a person “with extraordinary courage” jumped onto the front of the vehicle to try to stop it, Éric Ciotti, a lawmaker for the department of Alpes-Maritimes, which includes Nice, told Europe 1 radio on Friday.
“It was at that moment that the police were able to stop the terrorist,” he said.
The driver tried to shoot the person with a pistol and fired on police officers who had surrounded the truck, but he did not hit any of them, Mr. Ciotti said. The police then moved in and killed the man.
“I will never forget the look of the policewoman who intercepted the killer,” Mr. Ciotti said. –New York Times
So far the death toll has reached 84 and may continue to rise as 52 of the injured are still in critical condition. Many of those killed were children, at least 10 so far. As of right now, two Americans have been confirmed dead by their family members. The two Americans are: Sean Copeland and his 11-year-old son Brodie, both from Lakeway, Texas (30 miles away from Austin). The U.S. State Department is urging Americans in Nice, France to contact their family members to let them know they are alive and well.
Presently, no one has claimed responsibility for the attack. Pro-ISIS individuals on social media have openly expressed their support for the attack. French President François Hollande addressed his nation following the terrorist attack and requested that the national state of emergency that was set to expire on July 26th be extended due to the attack on Nice, France.
“We are dealing with a struggle which will take a long time because we have an enemy who will continue to strike all the people, all the countries who have freedom as a fundamental value.
“We will continue to be of extreme vigilance of protection to protect our people. The world again expresses its solidarity with us, tell us with words of great friendship, great affection to France and what the world thinks of us. It thinks we’re strong.
“France will be stronger than those who wish us ill, because we are a France united. We are France as one.” –CNN
This attack has drawn some negative criticism of the French intelligence community and their collection capabilities.
Alain Juppé, a former prime minister of France and a candidate in the center-right primary for next year’s presidential election, told the radio station RTL on Friday morning that “if all means had been taken, this tragedy would not have occurred.”
He called for better coordination among France’s different levels of intelligence-gathering. “I am not aiming to accuse anybody at this stage, naturally,” he added. “But we must know all the truth, in all of its details.”
This month, a French parliamentary inquiry found that intelligence agencies had failed on multiple occasions in the collection and sharing of intelligence that could have helped prevent the attacks in France in January and November 2015. The inquiry called for an overhaul of the country’s intelligence-gathering structure.
SOFREP will update this article as more information becomes available
Image courtesy of Reuters
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