PARIS: At least 82 people were killed and dozens were injured when an attacker drove a truck at high speed into crowds watching Bastille Day fireworks in the French Riviera city of Nice late on Thursday, local media quoted officials as saying.
According to details, the terrorist, whose identity was still unknown, drove at high speed for over 100 meters (yards) along the famed Promenade des Anglais seafront before hitting the mass of spectators, regional sub-prefect Sebastien Humbert told reporters.
“The preliminary death toll was 73 and the number of wounded was at least 100 and possibly more,” he said.
French President Francois Hollande called up military and police reservists to relieve forces worn out by an eight-month state of emergency begun after the Islamic State militant group killed 130 people in Paris. The state of emergency has been extended.
“France is filled with sadness by this new tragedy,” Hollande said, noting several children were among the dead in what he said he had no doubt was an act of terrorism.
He called the carnage, which came as France celebrated the anniversary of the 1789 revolutionary storming of the Bastille, an attack on liberty by fanatics who despised human rights.
“France would, nonetheless, continue military operations in Syria and Iraq,” Hollande said.
Almost exactly eight months ago Islamic State militants killed 130 people in Paris on Nov. 13, the bloodiest in a number of attacks in France and Belgium in the past two years. On Sunday, France had breathed a sigh of relief as the month-long Euro 2016 soccer tournament ended without a feared attack.
Officials were cautious about accounts from bystanders that the lone man driving the truck had also opened fire and, amid chatter on social media of a hostage situation, police called on people not to propagate rumors that were hampering their work.
One woman told France Info she and others had fled in terror: “The lorry came zig-zagging along the street. We ran into a hotel and hid in the toilets with lots of people.”