An Irish citizen is among those injured in the, so called, Islamic State (ISIS) attack on Bastille Day, in Nice, France. Some 84 people were killed, including 10 children and another 50 people are in serious condition in hospital.
At about 23:00 local time on Thursday night, a driver ploughed a truck into the crowds gathered, at the Promenade des Anglais, to watch fireworks. The driver was shot dead by police. Eyewitnesses said the speeding truck was swerving and zigzagging in an attempt to hit more people. Guns and grenades were found in the vehicle.
On Friday afternoon an evacuation of Nice airport took place after a bomb alert. The alert has since been dropped.
Speaking on Friday morning Ireland’s Prime Minister Enda Kenny confirmed that an Irishman was critically injured in the incident. He said “While the position is not yet clear, it is understood an Irish man is critically injured in hospital."
"It's an act of madness" - Taoiseach Enda Kenny on the Nice attackhttps://t.co/mt3qsJDi4p— RTÉ News (@rtenews) July 15, 2016
A 17-year-old Limerick student, Mollie McGann, and her three friends (Roisin Howard, Roisin Begley and Mary Egan) also described the horrors they witnessed. Just seconds before the attack the girls were taking photos of each other before chaos broke out. McGann said the “ran in panic.”
She said “It was just complete panic. We were all just running, trying to get home as fast as we could."
She continued "The beach is right beside the prom, so we were literally there, only a few yards away. We were just so lucky...The lorry must have drove past us."
The students arrived in Nice two weeks ago to live with a local family, in order to brush up on their French before their Leaving Cert exams next year.
McGann said “We looked up, and saw people sprinting, and there was screaming and shouting, and everyone on the beach starting running in the other direction, so we just packed up our stuff and we started running with the crowd."
After the attack the distraught teens had to cross the promenade and pass dozens of dead bodies.
“Once the truck had gone further down the prom, we crossed over (it), and we saw loads of plastic (body) bags and loads of dead bodies on the roads," McGann said.
"Two of those 80 people were American and those two people happen to be uncle Sean and 11-year-old cousin Brodie.”
"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 one in such a tragic and unexpected way is unbearable. Prayers are much appreciated. #CopelandFamily #nice."
The man responsible for the death of 84 people was Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel (31), a Franco-Tunisian born in Tunisia. He was not on the watch list of French intelligence services but he was known to the police in connection with crimes, such as theft and violence.
France’s President François Hollande lead the tributes to those who were murdered. “France has been hit by a tragedy once again. This monstrosity of using a lorry to deliberately kill people, many people, who only came out to celebrate their national day.
"France is in tears. It is hurting but it is strong, and she will be strong, always stronger than the fanatics who wish to hurt us."
He added that a military operation was in place that would allow the mobilization of 10,000 military officers. Hollande said police across the country would be called to assist their colleagues in Nice. The President said country borders will be tightened and that France would show "real force and military action in Syria and Iraq.”
At a press conference held at the scene of the crime France’s Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said "We are in a war with terrorists who want to strike us at any price and in a very violent way.”
Nice regional president Christian Estrosi was at the celebration when the terrorist attack took place.
He said "This is the worst Nice drama of history.
"We are terrified and we want to present to all the families our sincere condolences.
The Nice massacre comes as France is still on alert after the Paris attacks of November 13, where 130 people were killed at sites around the city including Bataclan Theatre and State de France. Hollande has announced that this period of “state of emergency” will be extended.
The pop star Rihanna was set to play a concert at the Allianz Riviera stadium on Friday night. It has been cancelled along with the city’s jazz festival, which was due to run from Saturday to Wednesday.
H/T: Irish Mirror, RTE, BreakingNews.
#NiceAttack, what we know:
・At least 84 dead— CNN (@CNN) July 15, 2016
・French president: ’A terror attack’
・Attack zone is 1.2 miles longhttps://t.co/6PfQDo8NoC