https://www.theguardian.com/world/2016/ ... t-least-70
Truck rams Bastille Day crowd in Nice killing at least 70
A lorry driven at high speed along the crowded seafront promenade in Nice was aimed at people enjoying France’s 14 July celebrations
At least 70 people were killed and around 100 more were injured when an armed man drove a lorry at full speed into a crowd who had gathered to watch the Bastille Day fireworks display over the seafront in Nice on Thursday night.
French anti-terror police are investigating after the driver careered into the dense crowd and continued to drive into them for a distance of 2km. The French interior ministry confirmed that the driver was shot dead by police, who are investigating whether the lone driver had acted alone or had accomplices.
A police source told Le Monde that the driver was armed. Christian Estrosi, head of the local region, said there were explosives in the van.
The date of the attack – France’s national day of celebration – was seen as symbolic coming after 130 people were killed in November’s coordinated Paris attacks on a stadium, bars and a rock gig at the Bataclan concert venue.
Witnesses described scenes of terror and chaos on Nice’s famous beachfront Promenade des Anglais as the truck driver ran down dozens in the crowd that included families, children and babies in pushchairs. Moments earlier the crowd of locals and tourists had been gathered in a festive atmosphere to mark France’s 14 July bank holiday with the traditional fireworks display and concert.
Witnesses described scenes of horror and chaos with one man saying the van had mowed down people “like skittles at a bowling alley”.
Maryam Violet, an Iranian journalist visiting the Mediterranean city on holiday, told the Guardian that she saw the lorry running over people as they walked in the pedestrian area minutes after the fireworks had finished. “Everyone was completely shocked, I saw that suddenly people were fleeing and shouting,” she said.
“People were shouting, ‘it’s a terrorist attack, it’s a terrorist attack’. It was clear that the driver was doing it deliberately,” she said. “I was walking for nearly a mile and that there were dead bodies over the place. I think over 30 dead bodies are on the ground and lots of people are injured. The dead bodies have been covered by blue sheets.
“I saw two sisters and one brother from Poland that were mourning the death of their two other siblings,” she said.
“There were so many Muslim people who were victims because I could see they had scarves over their head and some were speaking Arabic, one family lost a mother and in Arabic, they were saying she’s a martyr,” she said. “People were celebrating and it was so peaceful, it was a festive vibe, it was right after the fireworks that the truck came and ran over people.”
Restaurant owners on the beach front described sheltering panicked crowds who were fleeing and screaming.
A reporter for the French news agency AFP described seeing a white vehicle driving at high speed on to the promenade.
“We saw people hit and bits of debris flying around,” he said, adding that the incident took place near the Hotel Negresco.
The French president, François Hollande, rushed back to the Paris government crisis centre from a visit to Avignon. Earlier he had given his traditional Bastille Day address saying that France’s state of emergency, in place since November’s Paris attacks would end on 26 July.
Wassim Bouhlel, a Nice native who spoke to the Associated Press said that he saw a lorry drive into the crowd and then witnessed the man emerge with a gun and start shooting. “There was carnage on the road,” Bouhlel said. “Bodies everywhere.”
It was not clear whether the driver had opened fire, or whether the gunfire heard by witnesses was part of police attempts to neutralise the driver.
A spokesman for the new UK prime minister, Theresa May, said she was being kept up to date on events, adding: “Our thoughts are with all those affected by this terrible incident on what was a day of national celebration.”
The White House said that President Obama had been told of the situation was being kept updated. The president condemned “what appears to be a horrific terrorist attack in Nice” and said he had directed his team to offer any assistance France may need in its investigation.
The Republican presidential candidate, Donald Trump, announced on Twitter that, after the events in Nice, he was delaying a press conference planned for Friday to announce his running mate.
He tweeted: “Another horrific attack, this time in Nice, France. Many dead and injured. When will we learn? It is only getting worse.”
The French ambassador to the US, Gérard Araud, also tweeted: “Our democracies are besieged. Let’s stick more than ever to our values. Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité. Vive la France, vive les Etats-Unis.”