A terror attack in Nice, France, has left at least 84 people dead and over 100 injured after a truck plowed into revelers celebrating Bastille Day Thursday night.
Eyewitnesses to the attack say a white truck deliberately targeted a large crowd of people and rammed into them at high speed, and then began driving about attempting to take out as many people as possible.
After the attack began, police fired on the truck and killed the driver, according to Sebastien Humbert, prefect for Alpes-Maritimes region. A search of the truck revealed that it had a cache of guns and explosives, suggesting the attacker was prepared for a longer stand-off with police.
Several videos posted to Twitter show the attack itself, with the truck slowly approaching the crowd with police alongside it (possibly trying to direct it elsewhere), only to suddenly accelerate and ram into the crowd. Other videos show people fleeing the scene in terror.
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Initially there were rumors that gunmen participating in the attack had taken hostages at a hotel or restaurant, but a French interior ministry spokesperson denied that was the case. There have also been unconfirmed rumors of a possible accomplice in the attack.
French President Francois Hollande has returned to Paris from the French city of Avignon to hold an immediate emergency meeting with the French interior ministry, who handles law enforcement in the country.
While identified as a terrorist attack, the perpetrator (or perpetrators) and their motive have not yet been identified.
President Barack Obama released a statement on the attack, saying he condemns the attack “in the strongest terms.”
“On this Bastille Day, we are 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 devastating and tragic loss of life,” the statement says.
The attack is a grim follow-up to the deadly attack in Paris last year, in which 130 people were murdered in a series of suicide bombings and a hostage event at the Bataclan theater. Overall, the attack is the third deadliest in the European Union since 2001, behind only last November’s attack and the 2004 Madrid train bombings, which killed 192.
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