The death toll in Nice, France, has reached 84 following the latest crippling terror attack upon the reeling country. During annual Bastille Day celebrations, a heavily armed commercial truck slammed into a gathered crowd, with the driver gunning down innocent bystanders. Two American tourists from Texas were confirmed among the victims.
French President Francois Holland quickly condemned the attack on French soil, deeming it an overt act of terror.
Holland extended France’s national state of emergency, which was set to lapse July 26 pursuant to November’s shocking terror attacks, in response to Thursday’s truck attack that killed 84 and injured hundreds of others.
Following a national defense council meeting, both Holland and French Prime Minister Manuel Valls are scheduled to arrive in Nice to address the harrowing situation.
The Bastille Day terror attack was just the latest in a recent string of terrorist strikes upon the embattled country.
Concerning Thursday evening’s tragic events, Holland stated to Bloomberg:
“After Paris in January 2015 and then in November, Nice has been hit. All of France is under the threat of Islamic terrorism. We must show absolute vigilance and determination.”
The Nice truck attack took place at France’s popular Promenade des Anglais along the main strip near the Negresco and adjacent to the countries’ scenic beachfront.
Witnesses claim the truck plowed through a crowd of spectators for more than a mile, rendering horrific injury and destruction in its midst. As reported, at least 84 people, including children, have been confirmed dead as a result.
One onlooker vividly described the chaotic scene as follows. “We were enjoying the celebrations when we suddenly saw people running everywhere and tables being pushed down by the movement of panic. No one explained to us what was happening, and I heard some gunshots not very far away. Then people were still running.”
Dozens of people remain in intensive care following the Nice truck attack. Fortunately, authorities were able to prevent further loss of life by bringing down the gunman, riddling his windshield with gun fire.
Officials claimed the truck contained a cache of weapons and grenades.
France’s latest heart-breaking tragedy came just eight months after calculated terror activities claimed more than 130 lives in Brussels.
Though no terrorist cell or entity has yet stepped forward in claiming responsibility for the Nice attacks, local newspaper Nice Matin reported the driver as an unnamed 31-year-old Frenchman of Tunisian origin.
Authorities in the Nice region postulated the attacks occurred during its Bastille Day Parade due to a relative “soft target” status. Furthermore, it is believed Nice’s vulnerability was increased due to nearby Paris’ heavy security presence for Euro Soccer tournament 2016, which had just concluded.
Christian Estrosi, president of the Provence-Alpes-Cote d’ Azur region of France expressed his shock, sadness and outrage during a televised interview Friday morning, per The New York Times:
“Questions are raised, as I try to comfort the families, I also try to contain my anger. I can’t hide to you that I feel deep anger. How is it possible in our country that, after everyone said there was a state of emergency, a state of war, we forgot it after Charlie Hebdo, and then there was the Bataclan. After the Bataclan, we forgot, and then there was Brussels. After Brussels we forgot and there was Nice.”
Amid the anxiety of these attacks, France was cautiously inching toward a return to normalcy. However, that return was emphatically thwarted by Thursday’s truck attack that killed 84.
President Obama stated early Friday morning, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and other loved-ones of those killed.”
While identities of victims from the attack are becoming known, the deaths of Americans Brodie and Sean Copeland — a father and son from Texas — have been confirmed.
Check back with the Inquisitr as more information regarding the Nice, France terror attack becomes available.
[AP Photo/Luca Bruno]