A truck attack killed 80 people who had gathered to watch Bastille Day fireworks at Nice in France, yesterday.
The truck attack was executed by a 31-year-old man of French-Tunisian nationality, who drove a large truck into the gathering, plowing through revelers, many of whom were children.
The driver of the truck attack was shot by the police.
His truck, according to several media sources, was heavily loaded with arms, including guns and larger weapons.
According to a few witnesses, the driver also fired one of these weapons.
With the death tolls rising by the minute and over 20 people reported seriously hurt, the truck attack is being viewed as an undeniable act of terrorism, though the terrorist connections of the attacker have not been established yet.
The French President Francois Hollande extended the period of emergency to another three months in the wake of the attack at Nice.
The emergency was due to be lifted and had been in effect since the Islamic State’s terror attacks all over Paris in November of last year.
The Telegraphquoted a visibly shaken Hollande from his televised address after the truck attack:
“A fresh atrocity has just been inflicted on France. It is the whole of France which is under threat from Islamic terrorism. We will maintain a high level of vigilance… Human rights are being denied by terrorists, France is clearly their target. The nature of terrorism cannot be denied. The perpetrator has been killed, we do not know whether he had any accomplices.”
The atrocity of the truck attack is further brought under glaring spotlight in the light of the fact that those gathered were celebrating France’s national festival day — the anniversary of the country’s internalization of the now famous dictum of “liberty, equality and fraternity.”
The Guardian reported on how, in spite of dawn breaking over the picturesque resort town of Nice, the streets were still filled with people who were searching for their loved ones. The photograph by Luca Bruno on the top of this page shows one such woman lamenting her missing son.
The same commentary also noted on how several children were undergoing crucial surgery at the Lenval pediatric hospital.
Prominent world leaders have spoken out in condemnation of the truck attack in Nice, while social media has seen an outpouring of prayers and solidarity with a France that has been particularly ravaged in the past one year.
While Democratic nominee Hillary Clinton — in a statement shared on Twitter — spoke of the support Americans are willing to extend to their “closest allies in Europe,” Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump postponed the news conference to announce his vice presidential running mate, tweeting that he is with the victims “in every way.”
Among other leaders who publicly mourned the truck attacks were Justin Trudeau, Malcolm Turnbull, and Barack Obama.
While the hospitals in Nice gave out a call for blood donations, the full horror of the truck zigzagging through the famed Promenade des Anglais and what it meant for its victims hit the world.
Conversations have already turned to Islamic terrorism and on ways to contain it.
The Daily Beast quoted one Philippe Lescos, who was a block away from the promenade when he heard the cries and hurried back home.
“People were running like crazy people in all directions. The kids were crying and a lot of the adults were crying as well.”
The truck attack in Nice has no doubt transformed yet another peaceful haven into a wreckage. But as pictures of despair emerge, so do the messages of peace and togetherness.
UPDATE: Since the publishing of the article the death toll has risen to 84 people.
[Photo by Luca Bruno/AP Images]