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Bastille Day Massacre: 84 Slaughtered
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Bastille Day Massacre: 84 Slaughtered


Attacker Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel mounted pavement and smashed into crowds of men, women and children watching fireworks display to celebrate France's Bastille Day.

At least 84 people, including 10 children, were killed by a suspected ISIS fanatic who ploughed a 25-tonne truck into crowds of people celebrating Bastille Day in southern France.

Crazed gunman Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel zig-zagged through crowds watching the Nice’s annual fireworks “like a bowling ball” for more than a mile before opening fire at men, women and children.

Bouhlel mounted the pavement, mowing down groups at 40mph, before reportedly jumping out of the truck and opening fire as he shouted “Allahu Akbar” – God is greatest.

After being stopped by armed police, who sprayed more than 40 bullets into the lorry’s windscreen, Bouhlel exchanged fire with officers using a 7.65 pistol, before being shot dead.

It remains unclear whether he was shot inside or outside of the lorry, which was reportedly rented “a few days ago”.

ID documents belonging to the 31-year-old French Tunisian were found in the 25-tonne truck after he was shot dead by police, according to security sources.

Bouhlel is believed to have moved from Sousse, where 38 people were massacred on a beach last year, to Nice and was known to cops for armed theft and violence, but had no direct links to terrorism.

Tensions are running high in the French Riviera, with Nice airport evacuated following an unattended bag.

French passport holder Bouhel last appeared in court just three months ago, when he was found guilty of violent contact.

Despite this he had no known terrorist links and was not under surveillance.

Police have made an arrest after raiding the attacker's house in Abbatoirs, Nice today.

A bomb squad also detonated a suspicious parcel while raiding a truck parked near the house.

Neighbours described Bouhlel as "rude", "a bit weird", "lonely" and "silent".

They claimed he did not seem religious and a family living above the attacker stressed he never returned their greetings, but did not report anything suspicious.

A further 18 people are thought to be in a critical condition and more than 50 children were taken to hospital after the atrocity at around 10.30pm last night.

Two children died during or after surgery at a nearby hospital.

Christian Estrosi, the regional president in Nice, confirmed more than 10 children were among the dead.

A second man is believed to be on the run.

Local authorities fear there could be an active cell working on the Côte d'Azur after the truck was spotted on CCTV in the hills outside Nice.

 It's thought the hired truck was left there by an accomplice, where it was picked up by Bouhlel.

A police source told AFP: "The truck was rented in the last few days in Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur."

Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson said one British national is known to be injured in the attack.

The first victims were today named as American dad and son Sean Copeland, 51 and Brodie, 11.

Sean and Brodie were on a "dream holiday" to the south of France from Texas and were confirmed dead by friends and family online.

Haley Copeland wrote: "By now many of you have heard about the 80 people that have died in Nice, France today from a terrorist attack driving through a parade.

"Two of those 80 people were American and those two people happen to be uncle Sean and 11-year-old cousin Brodie.

"They were on vacation with my two other cousins and aunt celebrating a birthday."

Devastated Hayley added: "This is an extremely difficult time for my family and anyone who knows Sean and Brodie Copeland.

"Losing a loved one is hard no matter the circumstances but losing a loved on in such a tragic and unexpected way is unbearable. Prayers are much appreciated."

Police said a huge arsenal of guns, grenades and "larger weapons" were found in the vehicle alongside the driver, as pro-ISIS groups celebrated the horror massacre.

Dozens of victims, many of whom were children, were seen lying injured on Promenade des Anglais along the city’s famous waterfront.

Around 100 petrified revellers threw themselves in the sea to escape the carnage, while parents threw their children over fences to safety.

Grieving student Polina Serebryannikova, 22, was with her friend Victoria Savchenko. 21, when they saw the lorry careering towards them.

Tragic Victoria died instantly after being hit by the zig-zagging truck but Polina survived despite multiple injuries.

Heartbroken relatives refused to leave the bodies of their loved ones today as the city woke up reeling from the tragedy.

A crowd of 17-year-olds described seeing people run over as they fled the scene, with one person hiding in a nearby hotel.

Tiffany Marchbanks, an American student living in Nice, was watching the fireworks from the third-floor Hyatt Regency Nice hotel when she saw the truck speed up and stop about three metres away from the hotel as a band began playing on the promenade.

The student described a "weird silence" before gunfire started, sounding "like a video game", before "a few more shots and the worst screaming I've ever heard in my life".

Tiffany said it was unclear whether the driver started shooting before police and described officers stopping family members trying to get through to loved ones caught on the promenade.

She was stuck at the hotel until 4am and said taxi drivers gave people stuck on the promenade free rides home.

Tiffany added: "Being on top of the terrace looking down, there were kids and baby, all dead, blood everywhere. The sheets covering bodies weren't white anymore."

Nice has been described as a "jihadist breeding ground" that has long been the target of a deadly terror attack, according to experts.

The city of 350,000, which has a huge immigrant population, has seen dozens of residents travel to Syria to fight for Islamic State.

Claude Moniquet, a former French intelligence agent and security consultant, said: "Neither the place nor the date are coincidental."

A heroic motorcyclist flung himself onto the lorry as it mowed people down in a bid to stop the atrocity.

Shocking video footage shows the brave man clinging to the side of the vehicle as officers ahead shoot in an attempt to stop the driver.

It is unclear whether the hero survived the attack.

One witness said: “The whole area is pedestrianised and the lorry came down the south side.

“It crushed the crowd like a bowling ball. Everything in its path was crushed.”

Another revealed: “The lorry turned towards the crowds and the driver just put his foot down.

“It caused mass panic and a stampede away. It was terrifying.”

Eyewitness Damien Allemend told Nice-Matin: "I saw bodies flying like skittles as it drove along. I just froze... The beach attendants were the first on the scene. They bought water for the wounded and towels they placed over those for whom there was no hope."

Brit Kartik Bhanot, from Essex, witnessed the horror unfold with his dad, sister and mum, who has cancer and says he originally thought it was a drunk driver.

He added: "Suddenly as we crossed the unction, we heard screams and loud bangs. I looked for my mum and she was sprinting away.

"Despite being on chemo she was obviously more attentive than me."

Kartik and his family managed to escape the scene, get their car from a nearby car park and leave the area.

He said: "I'm still shaking. My last memory of the incident is of a young guy in a blue shirt lying crooked on the ground after the lorry raced past him and through him.

"I don't know if he was shot or run over, or just fell over, but I'm praying he is fine."

It was the second worst terror attack in French history, behind November’s atrocities in Paris.

Anti-terror police last night put the city on lockdown and warned residents to stay indoors as they swooped in.

One eyewitness who works for the Nice authorities said: “It is absolute chaos. Bodies are lying everywhere. Police are flooding the streets, including anti-terrorism officers.

“Nobody knows what to do — except to hide away.”

The European country has been in a state of emergency since the November Paris attacks.

President Francois Hollande today extended the emergency, which was due to end on July 26, by three months, as he pledged to "hit" ISIS in Syria and Iraq "even harder" .

French Prime Minister Manual Valls says the country will observe three days of national mourning from Saturday.

He added: "The goal of terrorists is to instil fear and panic, but France is a great democracy that will not allow itself to be destabilised."

Wassim Bohel, who witnessed the attack, said: We almost died. It was like hallucinating... (the lorry) zigzagged - you had no idea where it was going. My wife was a metre away."


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