NEWS | 77 Dead, Nice Truck Attack
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NEWS | 77 Dead, Nice Truck Attack

NEWS | 77 Dead, Nice Truck Attack

Image Attribute: Police officers and rescue workers arrive at the Promenade des Anglais in Nice.

An attacker killed at least 77 people and injured scores more when he drove a truck at high speed into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in the French Riviera city of Nice late on July 14.  

French authorities said police shot and killed the driver, who drove the heavy, long-distance truck for over a mile into the mass of spectators leaving a fireworks display along the famed Promenade des Anglais seafront.

NEWS | 77 Dead, Nice Truck Attack

The man had opened fire on the crowd, Nice mayor Christian Estrosi said, and weapons and grenades were found inside the truck after he was killed. 

"It's the most terrible tragedy in our city's history. Over 70 people died," Estrosi wrote on Twitter.   

"It's a scene of horror," local member of parliament Eric Ciotti told France Info, saying the truck "mowed down several hundred people" before being stopped by police.  

Officials said the preliminary death toll was 77 with dozens to hundreds of others wounded. Hours after the attack, dozens of bodies lay on the ground covered in white sheets  The Paris prosecutor's office opened a terrorism investigation into the attack. 

The driver has not yet identified and no group has claimed responsibility. There was no sign of any other attack, though residents of the city were advised to stay indoors.  

U.S. President Barack Obama condemned "what appears to be a horrific terrorist attack," and said "we stand in solidarity and partnership with France, our oldest ally, as they respond to and recover from this attack."  

Eight months ago, Islamic State militants killed 130 people in Paris in the worst of several terrorist attacks in France and Belgium in the past two years.  

But more recently, no major incidents had marred the month-long Euro 2016 soccer tournament in France despite fears of an attack on the international crowds that attended those games.  

Vehicle attacks have been used by isolated members of militant groups in recent years, notably in Israel, though never to such devastating effect.  

France had mobilized extra security for the national day of celebration commemorating the storming of the Bastille prison in 1789. Approximately 11,500 security personnel were on hand for the traditional military parade in Paris.  

NEWS | 77 Dead, Nice Truck Attack

With reporting by AFP, Reuters, AP, dpa, BFM TV and Twitter

Copyright (c) 2016. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave NW, Ste 400, Washington DC 20036.