Along with extending the state of emergency in France, the French President Francois Hollande has that he would strengthen actions in Syria and Iraq, hours after a truck plowed into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice.
The driver who was shot dead by police was allegedly Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel a 31 year old Nice resident of Tunisian origin.
The assault was the third such terrorist attack in Western Europe in eight months. Police identified the driver of the van as Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, a 31-year-old Tunisian living in France. Witnesses said that Bouhlel opened fire before officers returned fire and fatally shot him. He was known to the police in connection with a series of petty street crimes but was not on the watch list of French intelligence services, Reuters reporterd Friday.
“We will strengthen our actions in Syria and Iraq, we will continue to strike those that attack us from their cells,” said Hollande in a national address. He said he will present the plan to extend the state of emergency to parliament next week. He had said earlier that he would end the months-long state of emergency on July 26.
And later, in a second address delivered at dawn, Hollande said: ¨France is filled with sadness by this new tragedy.¨
“The casualties of this tragedy are huge — 80 people are dead, 18 in critical condition, many people are injured. Our thoughts go, once again, with the families of the victims, with those who are now deeply affected and feel an immense sorrow. But also with all the residents of Nice, who tonight were deeply traumatized and plunged into a state of worry,” said Cazeneuve.
The driver, who drove at high speed for over one mile along the famed Promenade des Anglais seafront before hitting the mass of spectators, was shot dead, Sub-Prefect Sebastien Humbert told France Infos radio.
Cazeneuve said he had not been definitively identified.
“The identification of the criminal is currently being worked on, as well as investigating whether or not he had accomplice” said the interior minister.
Neither he nor other political leaders who spoke publicly in the hours after the attack confirmed media reports that the assailant was a Nice resident of Tunisian origin.