Bastille Day Atrocity

A large truck that slammed through a Bastille Day crowd took the lives of 84 people and injured around 100 on July 14 2016 in Nice, France. The driver of the truck first shot a gun into the crowd and then drove for two kilometers along the Promenade des Anglais, the main street in Nice, mowing down people who were gathered to celebrate the country’s main national holiday.

Damien Allemand, a journalist at Nice Matin, wrote that the attack begun just after the firework display finished and the crowd was about to leave. According to Allemand,  “an enormous white truck came [to the crowd] at a crazy speed, turning the wheel to mow down the maximum number of people… leaving bodies to fled like bowling pins along its route”, with blood and body parts all along the road. Wassim Bouhlel, a Nice resident, described the truck’s movement to the BBC as “zigzagged”, where “[no one] had no idea where it was going. The lorry ripped through everything… poles, trees. Some people were hanging on the door and tried to stop it.”

AFP cited a police source, who stated that the identity card of a 31-year-old French-Tunisian found in a cab claimed the driver was a Nice resident. However the authorities are attempting to determine whether the identity card matches the body of the driver in the attack.

The attack, which is designated to be a terrorist one by President Francois Hollande, forced the country to extend the state of emergency for three more months – which was first put in place in the wake of the Paris attacks in November 2015. In addition, according to the country’s Prime Minister the country would observe three days of national mourning, starting on Saturday. President Hollande stated that the day is a “symbol of liberty,” and that “human rights are denied by fanatics and France is quite clearly their target.” The driver was shot dead by police after an exchange of fire. It is also been reported that police found firearms, explosives and grenades in the truck.

France has sworn to continue to fight against terrorism, as its President stated that “Nothing will make [the Country] yield in its will to fight terrorism. We will further strengthen our actions in Iraq and in Syria. We will continue striking those who attack us on our own soil,” referring to the country’s involvement in air strikes against ISIS through a coalition of nations fighting the group. Although no terrorist group took immediate responsibility, CIA’s analyst Nada Bakos told Al Jazeera that his primary suspicion goes to ISIS, since the attack “looks very similar” to the ones carried out by this terrorist group.


Yeshihareg Abebe