This is an ongoing event so the facts are changing hour to hour. This Article only has the facts that occurred at the time of it being posted.
On the evening of 14 July 2016, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, a Franco-Tunisian, deliberately drove a cargo truck into crowds celebrating Bastille Day on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France, killing at least 84 and injuring many more. He was shot and killed by police. This was the third major terrorist attack in France since January 2015, following the Île-de-France attacks on 7–9 January 2015 and the subsequent coordinated Paris attacks on 13 November 2015.
On the morning before the attack, French President François Hollande reaffirmed that the state of emergency put in place after the November 2015 Paris attacks would end after the Tour de France finished on 26 July 2016. France had just finished hosting the Euro 2016 football tournament, during which the country had extensive security measures in place and deployed many more soldiers.
This attack follows a series of vehicle attacks on civilians, including the 2014 Dijon attack and the 2014 Nantes attack; both ISIL and Al-Qaeda have encouraged sympathizers living in Western countries to carry out such attacks. More than 20 ideologically-motivated, lone wolf, vehicle attacks have been carried out in Western countries during the past decade, including the pair of attacks in France, one the day after the other, in 2014.
After the attack, French media identified the perpetrator as Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, a 31-year-old man of Tunisian and French nationality. According to police reports, he was born in Tunisia, had a French residency permit and lived in Nice. He was married with three children, but in the course of divorce. He was reported to have had financial difficulties and to have worked as a driver, acquiring a truck permit less than a year before the attack.
According to media reports, Bouhlel was known to police for five prior criminal offenses, notably regarding armed violence. He was last arrested less than a month before the attack after a traffic accident in which he had been sleeping at the wheel, and remained subject to judicial supervision. He was, however, not registered as a national security risk (fiche “S”) with French authorities.
Bouhlel’s parents are divorced and live in France. Reports say that Bouhlel often used to visit Tunisia, saying the last time he did so was eight months ago, before he went back to France. He was not known by Tunisian authorities to have been involved in any terrorism activities on Tunisian soil. However, he was known to the authorities in connection with drugs- and alcohol-related offences.
On the evening of 14 July 2016, thousands of people had gathered along the waterfront of Nice, France, to watch the Bastille Day firework display. The mood of the crowd was celebratory. At approximately 22:10 CEST (20:10 UTC), 30 minutes before the incident, a large white cargo truck was seen approaching the Promenade des Anglais. “He was speeding up, braking, speeding up again and braking again. We thought it was weird,” said Laicia Baroi, an eyewitness. The truck then doubled back towards the airport and breached the vehicle barriers opposite the Lenval children’s hospital. The truck was moving slowly and a motorcyclist pulled up alongside and tried to open the truck door. The truck ran over the motorcyclist after he fell off. Watching this, two nearby police officers opened fire on the truck. At this point the driver sped up towards the Promenade.
The fireworks were just finishing at approximately 22:40 CEST (20:40 UTC), when the truck, moving at high speed, plunged into the crowds on the Promenade. It was swerving to hit pedestrians. Police tried to stop it with gunfire, and the driver shot back at them, as well as at people in the crowd. It was reported the driver shouted “Allahu Akbar!”.
The truck continued for two kilometers (1.25 miles), killing and injuring pedestrians. Police surrounded it near the luxury Palais de la Méditerranée hotel. The truck was raked with gunfire and the driver inside killed. Bouhlel’s identity papers were found in the truck.
In total, there have been 84 deaths from the attack and 50 people are receiving emergency treatment for their injuries. As well as the many French people killed, several foreigners were also among the dead. There were reportedly many Muslims who were among the 84 people killed in the attack, according to a journalist who saw several people with scarves or speaking Arabic. The first victim to die was a Muslim woman.
Suspected Terrorist Links
A preliminary investigation by French officials has not connected Bouhlel to any international terror groups. The French prosecutor stated that the attack “bore the hallmarks of jihadist terrorism” and that no group had claimed responsibility for the attack.
Immediately after the attack, when it remained unclear whether the threat had ended, people used social media, particularly Twitter, to help others find shelter, using the hashtag #PortesOuvertesNice (open doors Nice), a variation of a hashtag used in other recent attacks in France.
President François Hollande returned to Paris from Avignon to have an emergency Interior Ministry meeting regarding the attacks. Hollande addressed the French nation in a televised broadcast from Paris in the early morning of 15 July 2016 announcing future measures against terrorism, including a three-month extension of the state of emergency, previously due to end on 26 July. He also announced that more security personnel would be deployed. The Prime Minister of France Manuel Valls later announced that there would be three days of national mourning on 16–18 July.
Minister of the Interior Bernard Cazeneuve initiated the ORSEC plan immediately following the attacks.
European Union – President of the European Council Donald Tusk wrote on Twitter: “Tragic paradox that the subject of #NiceAttack was the people celebrating liberty, equality and fraternity.”
Interpol has announced that it will assist with the investigation process, which also includes victim identification.
NATO – Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg wrote in a statement: “I am appalled and saddened by the terrorist attack in Nice. My thoughts are with the families and loved-ones of the victims and with all those affected. This attack targeted innocent people and the core values for which NATO stands. But terrorism will never defeat democracy, freedom and our open societies. We stand in strong solidarity with the people of France.”
OIC – Secretary General Iyad Madani condemned the attack, calling it “an affront to humanity and all moral and human values”.
Arab League – the spokesperson for the Secretary General said “this tragic and heinous crime comes to reaffirm that terrorism continues to overpass all the red lines by targeting innocent people through brutal and unprecedented acts.”
United Nations – The UN Security Council in Statement condemned in the strongest terms the “barbaric terrorist” and “cowardly attack”. The fifteen members of the Council expressed condolences to the victims and the French government. Secretary General of the UN, Ban-Ki Moon, said he “stands firmly behind the French government and people as they confront this threat and stresses the need to intensify regional and international efforts to combat terrorism and violent extremism.”
Argentina – President Mauricio Macri tweeted “At this time of grief we accompany the French people and we join in disavow to the bloody attacks that move France and the world”.
Australia – In a statement, Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull said the Australian people’s deepest sympathies and condolences were with the people of France. Governor-General Peter Cosgrove was in Paris when the attacks occurred. He referred to the Australian Army participation along with Armed forces of New Zealand personnel, as an ANZAC contingent leading the Bastille Day military parade in Paris earlier in the day, and said that his sincerest condolences were with the people of France and that, “on a day where Australians marched alongside their French counterparts this cruel attack has struck innocents celebrating their national day”.
Belgium – Foreign Minister Didier Reynders expressed dismay that France was once again the target of an apparent terrorist attack. “We condemn such an attack, maybe a terrorist attack, but such an attack in France again,” he said.
Brazil – Acting President Michel Temer released an official statement: “It was an abject and outrageous action perpetrated against innocents celebrating the highest universal values: freedom of the peoples; equality between citizens and fraternity as an element of the relationship between human beings. The murderers will not reach their goal. Quite the contrary, this only strengthens the ties between free countries, seeking equal status among the nations of the world… Brazil joins all who wish for and struggle to achieve peace and harmony in the world. We are together against intolerance and barbarism.”
Canada – Prime Minister Justin Trudeau wrote on Twitter: “Canadians are shocked by tonight’s attack in Nice. Our sympathy is with the victims, and our solidarity with the French people.”
China – During the 11th ASEM Summit held in Ulaanbaatar the Chinese premier Li Keqiang expressed his condolences to the victims and their families. Furthermore he went on to condemn “terrorism in all forms”.
Colombia – President Juan Manuel Santos wrote on Twitter: “@ Fhollande: our solidarity with the victims and wounded (in the) bombing in Nice. We reject all forms of violence”. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued a statetement that concluded: “We strongly reaffirm our rejection of any form of violence and terrorist acts, which have no justification, and constitute a serious threat to peace and international security, violating the fundamental rights of individuals, including the right to life.”
Czech Republic – Prime Minister Bohuslav Sobotka expressed sympathy and condolences to the families of the victims and noted that “this tragedy would only strengthen the determination of the democratic world to defeat this perverse evil.”
Denmark – Prime Minister Lars Løkke Rasmussen wrote: “Attentat Nice is an attack on us all. An attack on democracy and human rights. Denmark is with France and the victim’s families in the sorrow.”
Finland – President Sauli Niinistö has said that he strongly condems the attacks in Nice that claimed dozens of lives. Through the Office of the President of the republic, he stated: ”This brutal attack on Bastille Day is an attack against European values. Finland strongly condemns terrorism and will stand alongside France in support.”
Germany – Chancellor Angela Merkel, who was attending the Asia-Europe Meeting in Mongolia, stated: “All of us who have come together at the ASEM summit are united in our feeling of disbelief at the attack of mass murder in Nice. Germany stands in the fight against terrorism at France’s side, united with many, many others. I am convinced that, despite all the difficulties, we shall win this fight.”
Greece – Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras wrote on Twitter: “I expressed my sincere condolences to Pr. Hollande for the heinous attack in Nice killing dozens of innocent civilians. At these difficult times, the Greek people affirms its support for the French people.
Holy See – Pope Francis expressed “his deep sorrow and spiritual closeness to the French people,” entrusting the dead to God’s mercy and uniting himself in the pain of grieving families.
India – Prime Minister Narendra Modi wrote on Twitter: “Appalled by the horrific attack in Nice. I strongly condemn such mindless acts of violence. My thoughts are with the families of deceased. I hope the injured recover soon. India shares the pain & stands firmly with our French sisters & brothers in this hour of immense sadness.”
Indonesia – President Joko Widodo has tweeted: “The attacks in France were very cruel. Indonesia unites in solidarity. Condolences to the victims and the people of France.”
Iran – Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Bahram Ghasemi condemned the attack, and expressed condolences of his country. He said: “terrorism is an evil; we will not root it out if there is no complex international cooperation. Concessions and double standards in fighting terrorism will lead only to failures”.
Iraq – President Fuad Masum condemned the terror attack in Nice city of France. He stressed that the Nice attack reaffirms the importance of strengthening solidarity and cooperation between the international community.
Ireland – Taoiseach Enda Kenny issued a statement expressing the sympathies and solidarity of the Irish people and government to France. Kenny said that “Once again innocent people have been targeted at an occasion of joy and celebration. French people have suffered appallingly and have again been the victim of cynical, and wanton violence. We cannot and will not yield to this malevolence.” President Michael D. Higgins also issued a statement expressing shock and sympathy at the attack. Higgins said that “With its appalling loss of life, including children, it will be received with revulsion by all those who value democracy. This cowardly attack in a public place on a national day of celebration must be condemned in the strongest terms. We must strengthen our resolve not to let such cold-blooded attacks undermine the way of life in our global community seeking to live in diversity and peace. All of the thoughts of those who value freedom and the public world are with the people of France at this time. I wish to express my sincerest condolences to the families of all those bereaved and injured.”
Israel – Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and President Reuven Rivlin condemned the attack. Netanyahu said that “Israel strongly condemns the terrible terror attack. Israelis stand united with the French people”, and offered France assistance in fighting terrorism.
Japan – Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe at the Asia-Europe Meeting held in the Mongolian capital of Ulan Bator condemned Thursday’s terrorist attacks in the southern French city of Nice “It was a cruel attack and I offer my sincere condolences to the victims,” Abe said. “Japan expresses its strong solidarity with France at this difficult time.” Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga and Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida also denounced the attack in their respective press conferences in Tokyo. Kishida said he has not confirmed that there were any Japanese victims in the incident. Suga said he felt “strong shock and anger,” saying such violence is “never tolerable.” “If it’s a terrorist attack . . . we would resolutely denounce it,” Suga said. “Japan would like to show a sense of strong solidarity with the French.”
Lebanon – Foreign Ministry expressed sympathy and condemned the terrorist attack in Nice city of France, on its national day, a “symbolic day for the sacrifices of the French people throughout its history to build the culture of freedom, equality and brotherhood.” Lebanon urged the international community for joint efforts to combat terrorism. Lebanon’s Hezbollah also condemned the terrorist attack in the Nice city during Bastille Day celebrations, stating that the wave of terrorism hitting the world does not differentiate between “old or young, white or black and is not targeting a specific religion but humanity”.
Malaysia – Deputy Prime Minister Ahmad Zahid Hamidi said Malaysia expressed sadness over the incident and was concerned that the acts would tarnish Islam if they were committed by terrorists in the name of the religion.
Malta – The President of Malta, Marie-Louise Coleiro Preca, sent her sympathy to the France while on an official visit in Australia. Prime Minister Joseph Muscat send his solidarity in respose to the tragedy and recited the French motto of Freedom, Equality and Fraternity. The leader of the opposition, Simon Busuttil, also send his solidarity as response to the tragedy. The Minister for Foreign Affairs, George William Vella, gave words of support to the French Republic. The Bishop of Malta, Charles Jude Scicluna, has asked for prayers from the general public. Other distinct personalities, such as international singers Ira Losco and Joseph Calleja, and MEPs Miriam Dalli and Roberta Metsola, also gave their messages of solidarity or shown their sadness.
Netherlands – King Willem-Alexander stated: “Our heart goes out to the victims of the attack in Nice. France was hit hard on its national holiday. We emphasise the deep sympathy we feel for all who mourn their loved ones and those who are experiencing tormenting uncertainty.” Prime Minister Mark Rutte said that “it is horrible to see that dozens of people, innocent civilians, have been hit by a lethal attack again” and stated: “After the horrific attacks of last year in Paris, France is hit hard again. Our thoughts are with the victims, their relatives and the French people and their leaders, who have to undergo a tough ordeal once again.” The Prime Minister conveyed his condolences to the French government.
New Zealand – Prime Minister John Key, who was in France, said “our thoughts are with the victims of the tragic events in Nice, their families, and the people of France”.
Norway – Prime Minister Erna Solberg, wrote on Twitter Friday morning “My deepest condolences go to the victims of the attack in Nice and their families. We stand together with France to put an end to terrorist attacks.”
Pakistan – Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif strongly condemned the terrorist attack in the French city of Nice, the government and the people of Pakistan extends their deepest sympathies and condolences to the government and the people of France and stands in solidarity with the French people in this hour of grief.
Portugal – President Marcelo Rebelo de Sousa sent a telegram to his French counterpart that read: “My thoughts are with the dozens of victims and their families, with all the French, in fraternal solidarity in this moment of pain and anguish. In my name and in that of all Portuguese, I send the most heartfelt condolences to President François Hollande and all the French people.” Prime Minister António Costa has said that his government “denounces and strongly condemns this attack that, once again, targets France and all Europeans… Portugal suffers with France on this 14 July, National Day of France… We all share the values of Liberty, Equality, Fraternity.”
Romania – Prime Minister Dacian Cioloș has posted a message of condolences in French: “France is in mourning. I express my deepest condolences to the French people, the families of those affected by this random barbaric act. Romania is alongside France and the French people, tried yet again by unqualified violence.” President Klaus Iohannis similarly condemned the attack: “A day of celebration has turned into a day of mourning.”
Russia – Russian President Vladimir Putin sent his condolences in a telegram to French President Francois Hollande, he wrote: “Brutality and cynicism of this crime committed on French National Day are shocking. We have once again seen that human morals are absolutely foreign to terrorism – its victims are innocent civilians, including women and children.” Later on 15 July, Putin recorded a televised address to the French President and French people.
Saudi Arabia – Saudi Arabia condemned the attack on Nice. The Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud has sent a cable of condolences to President Francois Hollande following the terrorist running-over incident which took place in the city of Nice. The King said, “We have received the news of the terrorist running-over incident which took place in the city of Nice and resulted in deaths and injuries. As we condemn and denounce in the strongest terms this criminal act, we, on behalf of the Government and people of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, express our condolences to Your Excellency and the families of the victims, wishing the injured a speedy recovery, stressing to your Excellency the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia’s firm standing with the friendly French Republic on the rejection of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and the importance of international efforts to confront and eliminate it.”
Singapore – In an official statement the government of Singapore expressed their “deepest condolences to the families of the victims and wish those who are injured a speedy recovery. Our thoughts are with the people of France at this time.”
South Africa – President Jacob Zuma stated: “South Africa shares in the grief of the French people and wishes the injured survivors a speedy recovery. Terrorism in any form and from whichever quarter cannot be condoned.”
South Korea – Seoul’s foreign ministry expressed “shock and anger” at the loss of so many lives in what it called a “barbaric terrorist attack,” saying it stands with the international community in working to eradicate terrorism around the world. “We strongly condemn this terrorist act,” the ministry said in a statement. “Our government, with the firm belief that terrorism is a crime against civilization and humanity, which cannot be condoned under any circumstances, strongly supports the French government’s efforts to root out terrorism. “The government also extended its condolences to the victims’ families and the French people. The ministry said that it is also considering raising its travel alert level for Nice by one notch and asking South Koreans to refrain from traveling to the Mediterranean city. The alert level for the popular tourist destination is currently at the lowest of four possible levels. Meanwhile, a ministry official said the government has been checking the safety of South Koreans in Nice, with no casualties reported so far.
Spain – King Felipe VI tweeted: “In the face of the criminal savagery in Nice, Spain offers its full support to the French people and their authorities.”
Sri Lanka – President Maithripala Sirisena wrote: “The government and people of Sri Lanka join me in conveying our deepest condolences to the Government and people of France, and to the bereaved families and those injured in the attack.”
Sweden – Prime Minister Stefan Löfven said in a written statement: “It is terrible what is being reported from Nice. This is an attack on innocent people and it is also an attack on our open and democratic society. I feel for all of France tonight and think of the victims and their families and relatives.”
Turkey – President of Turkey Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım, EU Affairs Minister Ömer Çelik and Presidential Spokesperson Ibrahim Kalın condemned the terror attack, while the Foreign Ministry issued a statement expressing solidarity with the people of France.
Ukraine – President Petro Poroshenko laid flowers near the Embassy of France in Ukraine and left a note in the book of sorrow. Poroshenko said: “We stand together with France in these difficult times. (…) Just as it was in Paris, Brussels and other cities, our position is absolutely clear: “We are not afraid””.
United Kingdom – A spokesperson for 10 Downing Street said: “We are shocked and concerned by the scenes there. Our thoughts are with all those affected by this terrible incident on what was a day of national celebration.” Prime Minister Theresa May later said “Our hearts go out to the French people and to all those who’ve lost loved ones or been injured. … I will speak to President Hollande today and make clear that the United Kingdom stands shoulder to shoulder with France today, as we have done so often in the past. 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.” Former Prime Minister David Cameron said “A sickening and dreadful attack in Nice. I know we stand with the French people and share their values. They shall never defeat us.”
United States – President Barack Obama wrote: “On behalf of the American people, I condemn in the strongest terms what appears to be a horrific terrorist attack in Nice, France, which killed and wounded dozens of innocent civilians. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and other loved ones of those killed, and we wish a full recovery for the many wounded.”
European stocks opened lower and then closed mixed on Friday as investor sentiment was dampened by the attack in France. The pan-European STOXX 600 was down 0.38 percent, French CAC 40 down 0.4 percent, German DAX down 0.4 percent and British FTSE 100 fell 0.2 percent before closing down at 0.32 percent in STOXX 600, 0.6 percent down in CAC 40, 0.01 percent down in DAX, and 0.22 percent up in FTSE 100 Airlines, along with other travel share, were some of the hardest hit companies, with Flybe and EasyJet down by around 3.7 per cent and three per cent respectively. Many European stock markets also closing down, with FTSE MIB down 0.29 percent, ATHEX down 0.97 percent and IBEX-35 down 0.38 percent.
Meanwhile, in United States, the stock markets was closed mixed at the end of the trading, Dow Jones closed up 0.05 percent. But, other American stock indices closed down modestly, S&P 500 fell 0.09 per cent and Nasdaq fell 0.05 per cent.The CBOE Volatility Index, which measures the implied volatility of S&P 500 options, was down 2.11% to 12.55 a new 6-month low.
EUR/USD was down 0.63% to 1.1051.