Friday morning in Nice started with most horrifying picture – pavements smeared with dried blood, smashed children’s strollers, uneaten baguette and other debris scattered on the Mediterranean seaside promenade.
Terrible news about a terroristic attack taken place in Nice just after 10:30 p.m. on Thursday went viral all over the world. A gunman at the wheel of a 25-tonne white truck zigzagged along the seafront Promenade des Anglais killing at least 84 people and injuring dozens more.
The attack was planned for the time when streets of Nice were overcrowded. It occurred just after Bastille Day fireworks in the French Riviera city.
Reuters informs that the police identified the attacker as a 31-year-old Tunisian-born Frenchman. The man used to break the law but it was connected mostly with such common crimes as theft and violence. His name wasn’t included in the watch list of French intelligence services. He was killed by the police officers during the Thursday attack after he had careered on for up to two km (1.5 miles).
Jacques, who runs Le Queenie restaurant on the seafront, said: “People went down like ninepins.”
Bystander Franck Sidoli, who struggles to rally after a shock, said: “I saw people go down. Then the truck stopped, we were just five metres away. A woman was there, she lost her son. Her son was on the ground, bleeding”.
“I saw this enormous white truck go past at top speed,” said Suzy Wargniez, a 65-year-old local woman who was at a cafe on the promenade at the time of the attack. “It was shooting, shooting.”
jss dans nice y'a des mouvements de foule de mutant on sait pas pk pic.twitter.com/ByXnaig0Qk
— yannick (@yvnnick) July 14, 2016
Journalist Damien Allemand reveals that noise and cries began just after the fireworks display had finished.
“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,” the Nice Matin journalist said.
— Nice-Matin (@Nice_Matin) July 14, 2016
Allemand saw people looking for shelter in nearby restaurants: “This evening, it was horror. I saw bodies flying like bowling pins along its route. Heard noises, cries that I will never forget.”
Police told residents of the city to stay indoors during investigation operations. However, no further attack followed. Italian officials said frontier controls were being stepped up.
After the Paris attacks in November when gunmen and suicide bombers killed 130 people in Paris entertainment spots, Islamic State warned that France and all nations following its path would remain at the top of its list of targets as long as they continued “their crusader campaign”.
“We will further strengthen our actions in Syria and Iraq,” President Hollande said, calling the tragedy an attack on liberty by fanatics who despised human rights.