At least 84 people lost their lives and more than two hundred were severely injured last night in Nice, France, when an ISIS fanatic drove a lorry at high speed into the crowds celebrating the country’s national day.
The attack happened at around 10.30 pm local time, when the suspect drove chaotically for nearly 30 minutes, while also shooting from the window of the cab, before being killed by the police.
The terrorist killer was identified as Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, a 31-year-old man originally from Tunisia. He was reportedly employed as a driver in Nice, and he had rented the truck five days prior to the attack.
After ploughing through the crowds gathered to see the firework show for nearly two kilometres, the suspect was shot dead by two police officers. Guns and grenades were found in the back of the truck.
Eyewitness reports describe the atrocity that happened on Thursday night in the French city in harrowing terms. Hundreds of terrified people were running for their lives as the lorry driver zig-zagged through the crowd, sending them flying or trapping them under the wheels.
The famous Promenade des Anglais looked like a war scene after the attack, with tens of bodies strewn across the street. At least ten of the victims were children.
French President Francois Hollande arrived at the scene of the attack, and in an earlier televised statement, he offered his condolences to the families and friends of the victims and said that 50 people still remain in critical condition in hospital, fighting “between life and death.”
Although there was no immediate claim of responsibility for this attack, Hollande declared all the signs point towards a terrorist attack.
“We will further strengthen our actions in Iraq and in Syria […] Nothing will make us yield in our will to fight terrorism,” he said on Friday.