NICE, FRANCE—On Thursday, July 14, a terrorist attack happened in Nice, France during a Bastilles fireworks celebration claiming the lives of 84 people and injuring 202 people, according to reports. This marks the third major terrorist attack in France in the last 19 months.
Around 10:30 p.m. on Thursday, a large truck turned left onto Promenade des Anglais, a seaside boulevard that was full of spectators who wanted to view the fireworks show. The truck initially killed two people then continued to drive about 1.1 miles down the boulevard running over the crowded spectators.
“There are many children, young children who had come to watch fireworks with their family, to have joy, to share happiness, delight, amazement, and who were struck, struck to death, merely to satisfy the cruelty of an individual—and maybe of a group,” said President Francois Hollande.
Eighty-four people were killed including 10 children and teenagers, two Americans, two German students and their teacher, two Tunisians and one Russian. Of the 202 people that were injured 52 were seriously injured and 25 were in intensive care. The attacker was killed by police officers as he got out a firearm outside a hotel and casino.
“We will not give in to the terrorist threat,” Prime Minister Manuel Valls said. “The times have changed, and France is going to have to live with terrorism.”
The attacker was identified as Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, 31, a native of Tunisia. Police have searched two locations in Nice including one home that had Bouhlel’s name on it. Bouhlel had a history of petty crimes including theft and burglary and had a six month suspended sentence from March for an assault of a motorist during an altercation, but had never appeared in any terrorism-related databases.
“He is totally unknown to the intelligence services, both locally and nationally,” said Paris prosecutor Francois Molins.
Officials canceled festivities in Nice after the terrorist attack including a five day jazz festival and a Rihanna concert that was scheduled for Friday night. The national state of emergency that was put into place after the November 2015 terrorist attack in France has been extended. The previous terrorist attacks in France in January and November of 2015 claimed 147 lives.
“Why Nice? Because it is a city that is known worldwide, one of the most beautiful cities on the planet,” Hollande said. “Why on the 14th of July? Because it is a celebration of freedom. It was, therefore, indeed to affect France that the individual committed this terrorist attack.”