At least 84 people have been killed, and around 50 injured, after a lorry drove into a crowd of people celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France on Thursday (14 July).Â
The driver ploughed on for 2km (1.4 miles) along on the Promenade des Anglais at about 23h local time, before being shot dead by police.
The driver also opened fire on people in the crowd, according to local reports, and has been identified locally as a 31-year-old man of Franco-Tunisian origin from identity papers found inside the lorry. However, police are yet to confirm these details.
Police found guns and a grenade inside the lorry, but later said these were fake. It was not initially clear if he was acting alone.Â In the area around Nice, the anti-terror alert has been raised to its highest level. President Francois Hollande was flown back to Paris from a visit to Avignon, joining Prime Minister Manuel Valls in a crisis room. President Hollande said it was “an attack whose terrorist nature cannot be denied”.
Only hours before the Nice attack, President Hollande had announced that France’s state of emergency would be removed later this month. He has since announced it will be extended.
French National Front leader Marine Le Pen has said on the party’s website that “the war against Islamist fundamentalism” must begin.Â Meanwhile, former French President Nicolas Sarkozy has said on Facebook:Â “We are in a war that will last, with a threat that is constantly renewing itself.Â Â “Adapting and continuously strengthening our plan of action against Islamist terrorism remains a top priority.
“Exceptional firmness and vigilance is needed in every moment as well as over a long period of time. Nothing can be as before.”
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said terrorism is a threat that is “weighing heavily on France”. Valls said: “The goal of terrorists is to instill fear and panic.
“But France is a great country and a great democracy that will not allow itself to be destabilized.”Â Â He added that there will be three days of national mourning starting tomorrow (16 July).