France devastated after brutal truck attack on Bastille Day

At least 80 dead after vehicle, stocked with guns and grenades, rammed into crowds watching fireworks display during Bastille Day celebrations. Incident being investigated as terror attack.

Photo by: Reuters
Photo by: Reuters

French police and rescue forces vehicles are seen on the Promenade des Anglais July 15, 2016 after at least 75 people were killed in Nice, France, when a truck ran into a crowd celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday July 14.

Updated Jul 15, 2016

At least 80 people have been killed and over 100 injured after a truck ploughed into a crowd of thousands during Bastille Day celebrations in Nice, France. French authorities are investigating the incident as a terror attack.

Eyewitnesses reported hearing gunfire as widespread panic unfolded when the truck – at high speed – swerved through the crowd thronging the famed Promenade de Anglais during the popular French national day firework display. 

The truck was found to contain guns and grenades and hurtled forward for two kilometres before the attacker who is of French-Tunisian descent was shot dead by the police, according to a BBC report. Amid the confusion and panic, some eyewitnesses said they thought they saw the driver exit the vehicle, armed, when the police shot him dead.

The attack which French President Francois Hollande said killed many children has not been claimed by any organisation as yet and locals have been encouraged to stay inside following the deliberate attack on the crowd. 

People cross the street with their hands on their heads as a French soldier secures the area after at least 80 people were killed along the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France, when a truck ran into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day. July 15, 2016.

Hollande has extended France's state of emergency which was due to expire on July 26 for another three months.

Hollande is also due to increase support for Operation Sentinelle, the military operation that involves 10,000 soldiers keeping watch across the nation along with reservists being called to boost the ranks of the police and gendarmes. 

President Obama has strongly condemned the events in Nice by calling it a "horrific terrorist attack" whilst the UN has called the attack "barbaric and cowardly." 

The French public have begun to show their support on social media for those affected by the attack by trending #PortesOuvertesNice, essentially offering open doors for those who need it during this time of tragedy. 

French police forces and forensic officers stand next to a truck that ran into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France. July 15, 2016.

Almost eight months ago, DAESH claimed an attack which killed 130 people in Paris. On Sunday, France breathed a sigh of relief as the month-long Euro 2016 football tournament ended without a feared attack.

A recent Parliamentary inquiry into French security services found there was a "global failure" due to miscommunication between intelligence and security agencies. It recommended all six of the French agencies would need to be merged together in order to be more effective. 

DAESH has recently claimed it wishes to step up attacks globally, with the terrorist organisation encouraging potential recruits to stay in their countries and launch attacks there. The group has been experiencing a loss of territory recently, having shrunk 12% in the first 6 months of 2016 with many of its fighters retreating.  

This is a developing story and will be updated accordingly

TRTWorld and agencies