On Bastille Day, a holiday in France not unlike the 4th of July in the United States, in celebration of the French Revolution and the commencement of democracy, a terror attack took place as an armed lorry driver plowed into the crowds of holiday revellers, families with small children, teens and grandparents, mercilessly as he swerved to aim at as many as possible on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice after a fireworks display came to a finish. This has been the recount of several eyewitnesses and survivors. The counted dead total 84, while at least 10 were children and teenagers. There are a reported 52 victims in critical condition and injuries have been so severe, it is expected that the death toll may rise. Many recounting their search for loved ones recalled an atrocious scene with unimaginable injuries and scores of dead.
The lorry driver has been identified as Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, 31 a delivery man and chauffeur. It is reported that he had not had extremist ties to Daesh (ISIL) in the recent past, although there was a history of violence with a recent first conviction in March of this year. Nor was he in any way seen to display piety, as neighbours observed he drank, smoked, ate pork, gambled & pursued women. He was never seen at the local mosque by neighbours or the community and a relative is cited to say ‘he was no Muslim’. The possibility of some very recent radicalisation is being investigated as they search for a motive. The perpetrator was a father of three and in the process of divorce. His ex-wife has been taken into custody for questioning.
After the lorry, driving at speeds up to 50 miles (80 km) per hour, had ploughed through the crowds where thousands had gathered, and they exchanged gunfire, the police finally shot into the cabin, killing the driver/gunman, after travelling about 1 mile (2 km). The cab of the vehicle was said to have contained a drivers license, a bank card, an automatic assault rifle, a replica of two different kinds of assault rifles and cell phone.
Victims are said to be of multiple nationalities as information is coming in. There is said to be 202 injured. This comes after the terror attack on November 13th, 2015 at the Bataclan concert hall, where there are recent reports of torture having taken place in Paris. 89 died there while cafés and bars and a Kosher supermarket in other locations were also attacked, making a toll of 130 dead. Eleven months prior to that, also in Paris, the Charlie Hebdo shootings took place, killing 12 staff including cartoonists that have drawn for the satirical newspaper for several decades.
It’s a critical moment for France’s President François Hollande, as security measures prove to require to be more stringent.
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