Eighty-four people were killed and more than 100 were injured Thursday night, when a large truck plowed through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France, in what President Francois Hollande called a terror attack.
The driver reportedly first shot a gun into the crowd before driving two kilometers along the main street “Promenade des Anglais” in Nice, mowing down people who had gathered to watch fireworks as part of July 14 celebrations.
Pierre-Henry Brandet, a spokesman for the French Interior Ministry, said that police shot and killed the driver, who was a 31-year-old Franco-Tunisian born in Tunisia. Firearms, explosives and grenades were also reportedly found in the truck.
A source reportedly told Reuters that the perpetrator of the attack was not on the watchlist of French intelligence services but was known to police in connection with common law crimes such as theft and violence.
French President François Hollande spoke from the Élysée Palace in Paris, saying that the “terrorist character” of the attack in Nice cannot be denied.
Hollande announced that the government would request a three-month extension of the existing state of emergency, which was put in place in the wake of the Paris attacks in November 2015, extended several times and was supposed to expire on July 26.
So far, no terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs released a statement and condemned the terror attack. “Turkey is in total solidarity with France in fight against terror. We are determined to continue fighting these rascals together. Before anything else, terror is a violation of human rights and universal values,” the statement added.
President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan also said he condemned the attack vehemently and added, “We expect everybody, who adopts a hesitant attitude towards terror, to take the necessary lessons from this attack targeting France.”
Prime Minister Binali Yıldırım wished God’s mercy on those who lost their lives in the attack and a speedy recovery to the wounded. “Terror is a crime against humanity and no one can know its next target,” Yıldırım underlined.