France has suffered yet another horrific attack as an estimated eighty four people have died in a terrorist attack.
Politicians and celebrities expressed grief and condemnation following the terror attacks in Nice, France that left at least 80 people dead and numerous others wounded.
A truck filled with explosives reportedly crashed into an unsuspecting crowd celebrating the country’s National Day. The driver of the killer-truck kept spraying bullets at the crowd as exploding fireworks masked sounds from his guns.
The planned attack occurred at a time when a large number of people had gathered for Bastille Day celebrations Thursday night, official reports confirm.
Eric Ciotti, a lawmaker for the region that includes Nice said Friday, gave details of the horrifying last minutes of the attack: “A person jumped onto the truck to try to stop it,” Ciotti told Europe 1 radio.
“It’s at that moment that the police were able to neutralize this terrorist. I won’t forget the look of this policewoman who intercepted the killer.”
Wassim Bouhlel, a Nice native, told The Associated Press that he saw a truck drive into the crowd. “There was carnage on the road,” he said.
“Bodies everywhere.” He said, “the driver emerged with a gun and started shooting.”
Those who realized terror was knocking at the door were left with no option than to jump into the sea which lies along the Riviera city’s famed waterfront.
Reports say victims of the bloody attack include most women and children.
As of Friday 8 a.m. local time, 18 individuals were in critical condition, 50 were lightly injured, and 120 were receiving treatment, according to a spokesman for the Ministry of the Interior. Prior to the announcement Friday morning that 85 had died, the death toll had been 80.
Nice [the location of the attack] is famous for the city named Promenade des Anglais which runs along the Mediterranean Sea.
After the deadly attack, reports say the French Riviera city was immediately placed on curfew.
Although details of the terrorist attack aren’t clear at the moment, reports say the Paris anti-terrorism prosecutor’s office has taken control of investigations.
“All of France is under the threat of Islamic terrorists,” a moody President Francois Hollande said on national television early Friday.
“France was struck on the day of its national holiday, July 14, the symbol of liberty,” he added, denouncing “this monstrosity” — a truck bearing down on citizens with the intention of killing, smashing and massacring … an absolute violence.
“France is strong. France will always be stronger than the fanatics who want to strike France today.
“I would like to express on behalf of the nation our solidarity with the victims and with their families. All resources, all our means are being deployed in order to help the injured.”
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, who traveled to the scene, said police were trying to identify the driver.
Ciotti said identification papers were found in the truck and that investigators were trying to determine whether they were legitimate.
Hollande said it was not immediately clear whether the driver had accomplices. The Paris prosecutor’s office opened an investigation for “murder and attempted murder in an organized group linked to a terrorist enterprise.”
Estrosi said some of the city’s 1,200 security cameras had pinpointed the moment the attacker boarded the truck, far from the seaside “in the hills of Nice” and could follow his path to the promenade. Estrosi called for the investigation to focus on any accomplices.
“Attacks aren’t prepared alone. Attacks are prepared with accomplices,” Estrosi said. “There is a chain of complicity. I expect it to be unveiled, discovered and kept up to date.”
This still image from a BFM TV telecast shows French President Francois Hollande speaking on the terror attack.
Video footage showed men and women — one or two pushing strollers — racing to get away from the scene. Photos showed a truck with around 20 bullet holes.
Nice Matin journalist Damien Allemand, who was at the waterside, said the fireworks display had finished and the crowd had got up to leave when they heard a noise and cries.
“A fraction of a second later, an enormous white truck came along at a crazy speed, turning the wheel to mow down the maximum number of people,” he said. “I saw bodies flying like bowling pins along its route. Heard noises, cries that I will never forget.”
Jimmy Ghazal, 39, a Lebanese man visiting Nice with his family, told ABC News that after the fireworks concluded, he heard people screaming and heard what sounded like gunshots. He saw people run to shelter.
Ghazal said he saw a big truck drive “through all the security.”
“The kids thought it was part of the fireworks,” he told ABC News. “We just told them it was part of the fireworks.”