In Brief

Nice attack: Five suspected accomplices charged

Evidence appears to contradict theory that Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel acted as a 'lone wolf'

Five suspects have appeared in a French court charged with terror offences relating to the Nice lorry attack.

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins says the four men and a woman, aged between 22 and 40, provided logistical support to driver Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel in the months leading up to the 14 July attack, which claimed 84 lives.

Evidence collected by investigators, including mobile phones and computer records, appears to contradict earlier claims that Bouhlel was operating as a "lone wolf", or that he "was radicalised in a matter of weeks, leaving security services little chance of stopping him", the Wall Street Journal says.

Bouhlel's mobile phone is said to contain extremist messages dating as far back as the Charlie Hebdo attack in January 2015, in which 12 people died. "He seems to have envisaged and developed his criminal plans several months before carrying them out," says Molins.

One of Bouhlel's messages to a suspected accomplice said: "I am not Charlie. I'm happy they have brought some of Allah's soldiers to finish the job."

The new information raises the possibility Bouhlel and his alleged accomplices were "part of a broader jihadist group that went undetected", adds the WSJ, calling it "another security failing by French authorities".

The five suspects include an Albanian couple, identified only as Artan and Enkeldja, who are accused of supplying the pistol used in the attack; French-Tunisians Ramzi A and Mohamed Oualid G, and a Tunisian man named Chokri C.

"None were known to the French security or intelligence services and only one, a 41-year-old French-Tunisian, had a criminal record, for robbery, theft, assault and drug offences," says The Guardian.The five suspects are expected to remain in police custody for further questioning.

Nice attacker 'staked out' route and took selfie at the wheel

18 July

CCTV caught the Tunisian man who killed 84 people in Nice on Thursday researching the route he would take in the days before the attack, French media have reported.

Europe 1 Radio said Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel and his rented 19-tonne lorry were seen on film on 12 and 13 July, "observing the scene very carefully".

It has also been reported that that attacker sent a text message just before driving into the crowd, expressing "satisfaction at having obtained a 7.65-millimetre pistol" and discussing "the supply of other weapons", says the AFP news agency. In addition, he took a selfie while at the wheel of the truck.

French investigators are trying to determine whether Lahouaiej-Bouhlel had accomplices and who might have received the text messages.

Police have made several arrests in connection with the attack. Lahouaiej-Bouhlel's estranged wife was released on Sunday without charge, but six people are still in custody, including a 38-year-old Albanian man held on suspicion of supplying the attacker's pistol.

Lahouaiej-Bouhlel's brother, Jabeur, told Reuters his sibling called him for a final time on Thursday, hours before the attack, and sent a photo of himself among crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice.

"That last day he said he was in Nice with his European friends to celebrate the national holiday," Jabeur said. In the photo "he seemed very happy and pleased, he was laughing a lot".

Lahouaiej-Bouhlel's sister said he had been treated for psychological issues and had a history of violent behaviour towards his parents.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls has warned new attacks are likely to occur as France grapples with terrorist activity.

"I've always told the truth regarding terrorism," he said. "There is an ongoing war, there will be more attacks. It's difficult to say, but other lives will be lost."

Nice attack: What we know about the victims and attacker

15 July

France is struggling to come to terms with yet another deadly attack, after more than 80 people were killed and scores more injured while celebrating Bastille Day in Nice.

This marks the country's third mass killing in 18 months, following on from the Charlie Hebdo shooting in January 2015 and attacks across Paris in November. More than 200 people have died in total.

"Even after all France has endured, this attack is a huge shock," Agnes Poirier writes in The Guardian.

"While we may have got used to round-the-clock army patrols in iconic places, it is still hard to bear this heavy weight on our shoulders."

Here's what we know about the attack so far:

The victims

Local residents and tourists, including many young families, gathered on the city's famous beachfront promenade last night to celebrate the holiday and watch the annual firework display.

But the scenes of jubilation quickly turned to terror as a lorry breached a cordon and ploughed into crowds, deliberately swerving across the road to try and hit as many people as possible.

The driver was eventually shot dead by police, but not before he had killed 84 people, including ten children. At least 188 people were injured, 48 of them remain in hospital in a critical condition.

"Dawn broke on Friday with pavements smeared with dried blood," Reuters reports. "Smashed children's strollers, an uneaten baguette and other debris strewn about the promenade."

Among the dead is Fatima Charrihi, a French resident and mother. "She wore the veil, followed a moderate Islam," one of her children told l'Express, adding: "Real Islam. Not that of the terrorists."

Also killed were father and son Sean and Brodie Copeland, from Texas. "It is thought the pair had been enjoying a dream holiday in France when they were caught up in the terrible scenes," says the Daily Telegraph.

Other victims include a teacher and two students from Berlin, who were celebrating the end of exams, as well as at least one Russian woman, a Moroccan and her child and the assistant head of the Nice border police, Jean-Marc Leclerc.

A small number of Britons are reported to be injured, but their condition is not known. There is growing concern for a Scottish couple reported missing in the wake of the attack, The Scotsman reports.

A hospital treating the injured children says it has been unable to trace the parents of a number of its patients. "They won't say how many," said Sky's Sam Kiley, reporting from outside Pasteur Hospital. "They don't know if they are dead or merely separated."

The attacker

Following the discovery of identity papers in the lorry, French police have named him as 31-year-old Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, a French-Tunisian national. He was known to local police and had a long history of petty crime, but was not on any terror watch lists, according to local reports.

Bouhlel was reportedly married with three children and worked as a delivery driver. "Neighbours portrayed him as a solitary figure who rarely spoke and did not even return greetings when their paths crossed in the block, located in a working-class neighbourhood of Nice," says The Guardian. His apartment has since been raided by French investigators.

Nader El Shafei, who witnessed the attack at close range, told the BBC the driver appeared nervous. "I kept yelling at him and waving my hands to stop. He picked up his gun and started to shoot police." Another witness said the attacker "had a beard and appeared to be having fun".  

French officials say it not yet clear if he was working alone, but early indications suggest the attack was the work of a lone assailant.  

"We don't know for sure whether the attack was directly related to Islamic State or even broader Islamist radicalism," says Reuters. "Although perhaps unsurprisingly, Islamic State and other jihadi-linked social media feeds were quick to rejoice in what had happened."  

The reaction

World leaders have condemned the attacks and offered their support and solidarity to President Francois Hollande and the French people. In Downing Street and in other locations around the world, French flags were flown at half-mast flags across the world.

"The United Kingdom stands shoulder to shoulder with France, as we have done so often in the past," said Prime Minister Theresa May.

Pope Francis joined the chorus of voices sharing their sympathies on social media. "I pray for the victims of the attack in Nice and their families. I ask God to convert the hearts of the violent blinded by hate," he tweeted.

Three days of national mourning will be held across France and the state of emergency, in place since the Paris attacks in November, has been extended. Thousands more troops and police officers have been mobilised across the country.

Germany and Italy have ordered tighter border controls with France as a result of the attack and a security review of all major events in the UK will be carried out in the coming days.

Lorry attack in Nice kills 84 on Bastille Day

15 July (9.00am)

At least 84 people were killed and dozens more injured when a man drove a 25-tonne lorry into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in the French Riviera city of Nice.

Anti-terror police are working to identify the driver, who was killed following a shoot-out with officers. Weapons and grenades were found inside the unmarked truck.

The attack took place on the crowded beachfront Promenade des Anglais, where hundreds of revellers had gathered to watch the annual Bastille Day firework display.

Video filmed by a German television crew shows the lorry breaching a traffic cordon before being fired upon by French police. It then drove directly through the crowd at speeds of up to 30mph for 1.3 miles, say prosecutors.

Witnesses described the lorry "swerving deliberately to hit people", before the driver left the cab and started shooting. French police are believed to have shot the man dead, sources close to the investigators told Nice Matin newspaper.

President Francois Hollande said France had been hit by a terrorist attack on "14 July, the symbol of freedom".

He added: "Nice is now hit. It's all of France which is under the threat of Islamic terrorism. In these circumstances, we must show absolute vigilance."

France's state of emergency, introduced after the Paris attacks in November and due to expire on 26 July, has been extended for another three months.

US Secretary of State John Kerry, who was in the country for Bastille Day, condemned the attacks.

"I was proud to stand alongside French leaders earlier today at Bastille Day celebrations in Paris and the United States will continue to stand firmly with the French people during this time of tragedy," he said. "We will provide whatever support is needed."

Theresa May, who had not finished her first full day as UK Prime Minister when the attacks occurred, said: "Our thoughts are with all those affected by this terrible incident on what was a day of national celebration."


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