sexta-feira, 15 de julho de 2016

Everything we know about the Nice Bastille Day attack

Everything we know about the Nice Bastille Day attack

Nice was hit, President François Hollande says, but all of ‘France is under threat of Islamic terrorism.’

By BARBARA SURK 7/15/16, 7:38 AM CET

At least 84 people have been killed and many others injured after a truck slammed into a crowd of people celebrating Bastille Day in the southern French city of Nice.

Here is everything we now know about what French President François Hollande called an “undeniable” terrorist attack.

French police say a truck drove a distance of two kilometers, slamming at high speed into a crowd of people celebrating Bastille Day on Promenade des Anglais in Nice, killing at least 84 people and injuring 100. Several children were among the dead and injured, according to France’s interior ministry, and 18 people are in a critical condition.

Agence France-Presse reported the attacker got out of the 19-ton truck and fired a pistol several times before being shot dead by police.

The attack occurred at around 11 p.m. Thursday, after a fireworks display marking France’s National Day in the Mediterranean resort city had finished.

People were seen fleeing in panic, some screaming and others crying as ambulances rushed to the scene of the latest assault on France, still reeling from ISIL attacks on Paris in November, in which 130 people were killed.

Anti-terror investigators take over

Anti-terror officers have taken charge of the investigation in Nice and local authorities urged people to stay inside.

France’s Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve has traveled to the scene of the attack and said one person was driving the truck and he was armed. Guns and grenades were found in the vehicle.

Cazeneuve declined to confirm media reports that identification papers of a 31-year-old French-Tunisian were found in the truck used in the attack.

A jazz festival scheduled to begin on Saturday was canceled, as was a Rihanna concert due to take place Friday evening.

State of emergency extended

President Hollande said in a televised address that he will extend France’s state of emergency, due to expire July 26, for three months in response to the attack.

He said 10,000 additional soldiers have been sent out on patrols to help police and reserves will also be mobilized and sent to the country’s borders.

“France is badly hit by this tragedy. We are horrified by what happened, this monstrosity,” Hollande said, adding that despite that, “France is strong and will always be strong.”

Cazeneuve, the country’s interior minister, said: “We are at war with terrorists, who want to strike us at any price and in a very violent way.”

Responsibility yet to be claimed

No group has immediately said it was behind the attack.

ISIL and its rival, Al Qaeda, have both sent suicide bombers to detonate explosives-laden trucks and other vehicles in cities around the Middle East.

ISIL claimed responsibility for a truck bomb detonated at a crowded mall in central Baghdad earlier this month, killing nearly 300 people just before the start of the Muslim holiday at the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

ISIL has previously urged supporters to attack France

Two years ago, as the U.S. began building an international coalition to strike ISIL after its leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi declared a “caliphate” in parts of eastern Syria and northern Iraq, the extremist group called on its supporters to strike in Europe.

The group’s spokesman, Abu Mohammed al-Adnani, said in a statement that supporters should kill “a disbelieving American or European, especially the spiteful and filthy French” but also “an Australian, or a Canadian” and “any other unbeliever from the unbelievers waging war, including the citizens of the countries that entered into a coalition against the Islamic State.”

On Friday, the SITE monitoring group, which tracks social media accounts and websites used by extremist groups such as ISIL and Al Qaeda, said ISIL supporters have been celebrating the Bastille Day attack, with some saying: “They brought this on themselves.”

More airstrikes on Syria, Iraq

In his speech, the French president linked the attack to Islamic extremists, saying: “Nice is now hit. It’s all of France that is under threat from Islamic terrorism.”

Hollande urged French citizens to be vigilant over the holiday weekend, and said France was determined to continue its military action targeting ISIL.

Hollande said France’s warplanes will step up their campaigns in Syria and Iraq, to “hit those who hit us in our homes.”

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