Terrorist attack: Truck slams into revelers in France, at least 77 dead

A police car is parked near the scene of an attack after a truck drove on to the sidewalk and plowed through a crowd of revelers gathered to watch fireworks in the French resort city of Nice, southern France, Friday, July 15, 2016. |AP Photo/Christian Alminana, St. George News

NICE, France (AP) — A truck loaded with weapons and hand grenades drove onto a sidewalk for more than a mile, plowing through Bastille Day revelers who’d gathered to watch fireworks in the French resort city of Nice late Thursday.

At least 77 people were killed before police killed the driver, authorities said.

Map locates Nice, France, where a vehicle plowed into a crowd; 1c x 1 3/4 inches; 46.5 mm x 44 mm;
Map locates Nice, France, where a vehicle plowed into a crowd July 14, 2016 | Photo courtesy Associated Press, St. George News

Nice prosecutor Jean-Michel Pretre described a horrific scene, with bodies strewn about along the roadway and Sylvie Toffin, a press officer with the local prefecture, said the truck ran over people on a “long trip” down the sidewalk near Nice’s Palais de la Mediterranee, a building that fronts the beach.

Wassim Bouhlel, a Nice native who spoke to the AP nearby, said that he saw a truck drive into the crowd.

“There was carnage on the road,” he said. “Bodies everywhere.”

The Paris prosecutor’s office opened an investigation for “murder, attempted murder in an organized group linked to a terrorist enterprise.”

President Barack Obama condemned what he said “appears to be a horrific terrorist attack.”

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and other loved ones of those killed,” he said.

The ranking politician of the Alpes-Maritime department that includes Nice said the truck plowed into the crowd over a distance of 2 kilometers (1.2 miles), killing 77 people and wounding 50. Many of those on the ground were in shorts and other summer clothing.

Eric Ciotti said on BFM TV that police killed the driver “apparently after an exchange of gunfire.”

The president of the Provence Alpes Côte d’Azur regional council, which includes Nice, said the truck was loaded with arms and grenades. Christian Estrosi told BFM TV that “the driver fired on the crowd, according to the police who killed him.”

Police officers and a soldier stand by the sealed off area of an attack after a truck drove on the sidewalk and plowed through a crowd of revelers that gathered to watch fireworks in the French resort city of Nice, southern France, Friday, July 15, 2016. | AP Photo/Ciaran Fahey, St. George News)
Police officers and a soldier stand by the sealed off area of an attack after a truck drove on the sidewalk and plowed through a crowd of revelers that gathered to watch fireworks in the French resort city of Nice, southern France, Friday, July 15, 2016. | AP Photo/Ciaran Fahey, St. George News)

It was not immediately clear who would have been behind an attack, but France has recently seen a spate of dramatic assaults from by jihadist groups, including the Islamic State group which straddles Iraq and Syria.

European Council president Donald Tusk said it was a “tragic paradox” that the victims of the attack in Nice were celebrating “liberty, equality and fraternity” — France’s motto — on the country’s national day.

France’s ambassador to the United States, Gerard Araud, characterized the events as a “terrorist attack.”

Kayla Repan, of Boca Raton, Florida, was among the hundreds gathered on the promenade to watch fireworks.

“The whole city was running. I got extremely frightened and ran away from the promenade,” she said. “It was chaos.”

Written by CIARAN FAHEY and RAPHAEL SATTER, Associated Press. Satter reported from Paris.

Associated Press writers Elaine Ganley in Paris and Naomi Koppel in London contributed to this report.

Email: news@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright 2016 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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15 Comments

  • Don Bagley July 14, 2016 at 8:43 pm

    This is just awful. I wish we weren’t entangled with the Middle East. No good comes of it.

  • Bob July 14, 2016 at 8:57 pm

    its easy to blame muslims, but the real terrorists are the politicians who thought it would be a good idea to let muslims into europe, all in the name of diversity and multiculturalism. Plus, after west Europe’s policies of aiding the US/Israel war and bombing campaigns in the mideast did they think the muslims would forgive and forget so easily? This is Europe– a fully disarmed public, and only the terrorists and the authoritarian police state still have guns, the people are like lambs to the slaughter. Very sad to see the disintegration of europe in such a short time…

    • izzymuse July 15, 2016 at 10:03 am

      The sad truth: Islam is NOT a religion of peace. The 21st Century needs to be alert and vigilant! We must protect “life, liberty, and property”, not political correctness. We must never allow Sharia in Utah!!!

    • .... July 15, 2016 at 11:34 am

      Lmao. ! yeah the same way you blame Mormons for everything !

  • radioviking July 15, 2016 at 8:07 am

    Wake up America and global community! This is Islam! It is not a religion of peace. The terrorists who are carrying out violence in America and Europe are driven by the teachings of Muslim prophet Muhammad. The Islamic terrorists are Muslim. Their scripture, The Quran commands them to do these things. Go and get a copy of the Quran (sometimes Koran) and see for yourself! I challenge you to read it and see if the following facts are not true: http://www.thereligionofpeace.com/pages/quran/index.aspx

    .
    The Quran is promoting this behavior. Why are people afraid to talk about the real issue here?
    Newt Gingrich: Deport every Muslim who believes in Sharia (video link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SNtGGFJOmYs

    • Bob July 15, 2016 at 11:53 am

      Islam has been an enemy of europe and the west for centuries. You people need to take a look at who is behind the open border policies and mass importation of millions of muslims into europe–Hint: it is NOT other muslims.

      • Bob July 15, 2016 at 11:59 am

        and don’t just think ‘Angela Merkel done it’ … got to dig a bit deeper than that..

  • Real Life July 15, 2016 at 8:32 am

    We need to allow more Muslims into our country. Just look how well it’s working in France.

  • Henry July 15, 2016 at 12:18 pm

    Another ISIS-inspired attack, another pusillanimous response from U.S. President Obama and French President Hollande. Initial remarks of indignation, to be followed by candlelight vigils and hashtag diplomacy. Cue the guy to roll out a piano and start singing John Lennon’s “Imagine”.

  • givereasonachance July 15, 2016 at 2:02 pm

    The comments above that refer to long-standing tensions with the West and Islam need to take actual history into account. It was Christians who make the first move into the Middle East during the First Crusade in a hilariously misguided attempt to retake the Holy Land. Come on people, where was this backlash against white conservatives when Timothy McVeigh had his day? Or when people started setting off bombs at abortion clinics? Or when we purposely destabilized the Middle East for decades in the name of oil and anti-Communism?

    I have a feeling most of these commenters are far from qualified to have any type of opinion about geopolitics…

    • Bob July 15, 2016 at 3:18 pm

      the crusades were basically nothing compared to the muslim invasions of europe. And it wasn’t about stealing the holy land from the poor picked on muslims. It was mainly about driving out conquering muslim invaders and retaking lands that belonged to europeans. You may wanna study up on the “religion of peace”

    • Bob July 15, 2016 at 3:30 pm

      Or when we purposely destabilized the Middle East for decades in the name of oil and anti-Communism?

      who is ‘we’? maybe the same crew who staged 9/11 in order to fight wars for Israel? of course it couldn’t be ZOG, could it?

    • Henry July 15, 2016 at 7:00 pm

      GiveReasonAchance – nice screen name; too bad you belie it by citing incorrect or revisionist history. Let’s address each of your points:

      – “Christians who make the first move into the Middle East during the First Crusade…” Wrong, the Muslims made the first move. Most of the Middle East was part of the Eastern Roman Empire (religion: Eastern Orthodox Christians) for centuries, prior to Muslim conquerors capturing it roughly between A.D. 636-638. The First Crusades began over 400 years later.

      – “backlash against white conservatives when Timothy McVeigh…” Then President Bill Clinton publicly blamed conservative talk radio for inciting McVeigh with days after the attacks, and was joined by Congressional Democrats. Clinton advisor Dick Morris, in one of his books, said that he personally devised this strategy as a means to strengthen Clinton prior to the 1996 election.

      – Backlash against “people setting off bombs at abortion clinics.” There has been an average of less than 2 attacks per year on abortion clinics. Do a simple Google search and you will see literally dozens of leaders/media that assign responsibility for these attacks on pro-life conservatives.

      – “…purposely destabilized the Middle East for decades in the name of oil and anti-Communism.” The Ottoman Empire was unstable for most of the late 19th and early 20th century (ever see the movie Lawrence of Arabia?). After World War I and the fall of the Ottoman Empire, most of the Middle East was partitioned by Great Britain, France, and present day Saudi Arabia. All this predates your period of “oil and anti-Communism”.

      – “…most of these commenters are far from qualified to have any type of opinion about geopolitics..” I have a Master’s degree in National Security Strategy and have written numerous graduate-level papers associated with that degree. I lived in the Middle East for almost 3 years and dealt with numerous Muslims on a personal one-on-one basis. So GiveReasonAchance, please tell us your qualifications…..

  • Bob July 15, 2016 at 3:23 pm

    Muslimism is more of an ideology of conquest than it is a religion, and that’s what it’s been used as for centuries. Muslim ideology cannot coexist peacefully with western society. Muslims need to remain in muslim lands.

    • Henry July 16, 2016 at 10:53 am

      Bob – your first sentence is spot on. The literal translation of the term “Islam” from Arabic is “submission”.

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