Bastille Day Terror Attack in Nice France: 84 dead, 100 Injured

Bastille Day Celebrations: July 14th is France’s National Day, also referred to as Bastille Day. The day commemorates the storming of the Bastille prison by angry crowds in 1789, helping kick off the French Revolution.

The Bastille prison, where opponents of the monarchy were kept, was targeted for symbolizing royal rule. About 3,000 men and girls from France’s army, navy and air force marched down the Champs Elysees in the oldest and largest military parade in Europe.

However, this historical memorial event ended in a tragedy, there are 84 dead, 100 injured after truck rams crowds in Nice. The driver crashes his truck into a big crowd and rushed, mowing individuals over while fireworks were on display in Nice.

One Australian witness told 7 News the driver swerved the truck between the footpath and the road to cause maximum destruction.

The vehicle apparently went a distance of about two kilometers and reached rates of up to 70kph before authorities opened fire at the driver.

The driver fired a number of shots into the ground before he was killed, according to the local regional president.

Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet confirmed the motorist was “neutralized” and investigations were continuing into whether he acted alone.

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French anti-terror authorities were swift to take control of the investigation into the strike. Identification records found in the truck belonged to a 31-year old French-Tunisian national, a police source told the AFP.

Christian Estrosi, president of the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’Azur region where Nice is situated, described the attack as the “worst tragedy in the history of Nice”. He before encouraged local residents to stay indoors until further notice.

Estrosi additionally verified to BFM TV the motorist fired into the crowd before he was shot by cops. “The motorist fired on the crowd, based on the cops who killed him,” he said.

Estrosi also insisted the lorry was carrying a cache of weapons including grenades and ammunition.

Nice journalist Damien Allemand was by the oceanside promenade seeing fireworks when he heard a noise of panic and cries.

“A fraction of a second after, 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 sounds, shouts that I won’t ever forget.”

A Nice native told AP that he saw a truck drive into the crowd and then observed the man emerge with a gun and start firing. Some have said they believed the gunshots were fireworks, part of the parties.

“There was carnage on your way,” Wassim Bouhlel said. “Bodies everywhere.”

“There are reports of dozens of individuals killed and additional injured. Bodies are lying everywhere,” another eyewitness said.

“Police are flooding the roads, including anti-terrorism officers. Nobody knows how to proceed, except to hide away. Gunmen are supposed to be targeting hotels.”

Social media videos expose groups running through the streets of Nice away from the crash site, while several others lay injured or dead on the ground.

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A journalist from the local paper Nice Matin said he saw blood and people running around in panic.

“People are running, it’s panic,” the reporter said. “There is blood, no doubt injuries.”

French newspaper Le Parisien reports an accomplice could be at large in the city. Several weapons, guns, and grenades were found in the back of the truck that crashed into the crowd, officials have affirmed.

The magazine quotes a local source, implying the attack was an act of premeditated terrorism.

Australia’s Foreign Minister Julie Bishop supported the injuries during a press conference, condemning the strike and reaffirming the nation’s support for France.

“We stand resolutely with France as of this time,” Bishop said. “We condemn this attack. We support our friends in France and join with others all over the world in hoping that this could be the ending of the horrific event which is targeted at unarmed civilians.”

She said the strike “has the hallmarks of a terrorist attack” but declined to say more until the findings of the investigation in Nice were finalized.

Any Australians preparing to travel to France should be aware of traveling guidance, Bishop said.

“We call on Australians to exercise a high level of caution in France.”

France’s President Francois Hollande said the “atrocious” assault was undeniably an act of terror.

He addressed the nation – and the world – in the hours after the assault, calling for an extension to the current state of emergency to protect a country “under threat”.

“It’s all of France which is under the menace of Islamic terrorism,” Mr. Hollande said. “So in these conditions, we must reveal complete vigilance and a drive without end.

“France is badly hit by this catastrophe. We’re horrified,” he continued. “But France is strong, and France will continually be more powerful I assure you.”

The assault came only hours after French President Francois Hollande announced the state of emergency in place since last November’s Paris terror attacks in which 130 people were killed would be revoked at the conclusion of the month.

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In the wake of the terror by which men, women, and children were targeted indiscriminately, the French president called for a three month of expansion of the national crisis basis.

“The state of emergency, which was to finish of 26 July, will be expanded by three months. A law will be submitted to parliament next week with this,” he said.

The 10,000 military and personnel supporting security forces would be reinforced with many sent to patrol the state’s boundaries, he said.

President Hollande included French military operations in Syria and Iraq would be “reinforced”.

Shortly after the president’s address, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve supported 80 people had died in the assault.

“We understand the terrorism threat level remains incredibly high,” Cazeneuve said, including investigators were yet to identify the assailant’s identity.

Obama: A Horrible Terrorist Attack

US president Barack Obama released a statement condemning “what is apparently a horrible terrorist attack”.

“On behalf of the American people, I condemn in the strongest terms what appears to be a dreadful terrorist attack in Nice, France, which killed and wounded dozens of innocent civilians,” the statement reads.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and other loved ones of those killed, and we wish a full recovery for the many wounded.

“I have directed my team to be in touch with French officials, and we have offered any help they may have to investigate this attack and bring those responsible to justice.

“We stand in solidarity and partnership with France, our oldest ally, as they react to and recover from this strike.

“On this Bastille Day, we’re reminded of the extraordinary resilience and democratic values that have made France an inspiration to the entire world, and we know that the character of the French Republic will endure long after this disastrous and terrible lack of life.”

State Of Emergency

President Hollande was heading back to Paris early Friday for crisis talks regarding what a local official described as a “leading criminal attack”.

“He’s coming back to Paris and will go straight to Place Beauvau to the crisis cell,” the presidency said.

Hollande had been in the southern city of Avignon on a private visit.

The attack came hours after the President announced the state of emergency declared after last November’s deadly Paris attacks would come to an end later this month.

“We can not prolong the state of emergency forever. That would make no sense, it’d mean that we were no longer a republic with laws which could apply in all circumstances,” he said while recognizing the danger “stays there.”

Speaking on the national July 14 holiday, Hollande said the decree after the November 13 assaults will not be renewed beyond July 26 because a law bolstering security in France was adopted in May.

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