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I'm Christian Fraser live from the French city
of Nice where 84 people, including 10 children,
have been killed by a truck driven at speed into crowds
gathered speed directly targeting spectators and holidaymakers
in what's being described as a terrorist attack.
People were running everywhere, screaming.
In that moment, we understood that it's something serious.
The driver of the truck was finally shot and killed by police.
He's thought to be a 31-year-old French-Tunisian.
People fled in panic as the lorry drove along the city's promenade.
The French President says the country faces
We have an enemy who will continue to hate all the peoples,
all the countries, who put liberty as the essential value.
As the government here declares three days of national mourning,
a service is held at Nice cathedral to pay tribute to the victims.
Good evening, happening with alarming regularity, but this time
not with automatic weapons, not a suicide vest, but with a truck,
terrifyingly simple, just as effective and deadly. Throughout the
course of the Day today, in the hot sun, down here on the Promenade des
Anglais, police have been working on a crime scene that goes over one
mile. The truck driven by 31 euros Tunisia Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel
drove down the promenade without a shred of mercy. 84 people killed,
ten children, and 52 people remain in a critical condition.
The attack happened at around 11pm local time Nice,
on the seafront avenue, the Promenade des Anglais,
The road has been partially closed to allow pedestrians to use it
Eyewitnesses say the truck hit several people near
the Hotel Negresco, a well-known local landmark.
The hotel's lobby was used as a clearing station to treat
the wounded and offer emergency medical help.
The lorry continued along the Promenade until it had almost
reached the Palais de la Mediterranee.
Police say there was an exchange of gunfire,
which resulted in the driver, being shot dead.
President Hollande said he deplored what he called a terrorist attack
and announced an extension of the national state
We need to wait and see, there is no direct link to any terrorist group.
The prosecutor investigating says they are looking into the background
of the driver. There has been a national state of emergency in place
which will be extended for another three months.
Our Correspondent Lucy Williamson has our first report.
It contains images you may find distressing.
Each lovers, partygoers and children.
Hunted with the most mundane of weapons, a lorry.
It arrived as the fireworks were ending, crawling
onto the promenade before picking up speed and heading straight
Its first appearance caught on camera by this man.
Up until this very moment here, the truck actually didn't
run over anybody, yet there was a motorcyclist trying
to approach the truck, trying to open the door while driving.
He failed and fell off the motorcycle.
And then there were two police officers standing right here at that
very corner and they fired two gunshots at the driver
Up until then, the rampage took place.
The vehicle accelerated and ran in a very odd way,
It zigzagged for more than a mile through the street
Bodies were falling like skittles, one witness said.
Another saw parents throwing their children over fences
The police surrounded the car and they kept shooting him
I saw him dead already, I've saw his head outside
Again, the French police officer, when he saw me standing up
and filming, he came to be aggressively and yelled at me to get
And for all the people on the beach to run,
because maybe they thought there was a bomb in the car
or other people hiding inside the truck from behind.
At that moment, I realised that this is really something wrong
and I started to run with the people.
Police found a fake rifle, and into grenade, and very documents.
French officials say the driver was a local man,
a 31-year-old French Tunisian known to police for petty crimes.
Today, the only figures on Nice's empty sea
front was forensics team, picking their way through
France was just begin to feel safe again after the attacks last year,
safe enough even to come out and celebrate being French.
But as people ran, screaming, down the street, last night,
the sound of gunfire mimicking fireworks, that moment of national
pride and national unity became once again an individual race to survive.
Imad said he froze when he saw the lorry and then ran
Above the screams, he heard the lorry's engine just behind him,
And then when I jumped over the bench, I found myself...
I jumped onto a woman, she was laying on the ground.
I just closed my eyes and waited for the crash.
I was feeling I was going to die, I was feeling really, really scared.
I didn't know what to do, but I gave up on that moment.
Until I saw the bench breaking up, it was too loud and scary.
I looked at it and I found it destroyed.
The thing that was between me and the truck was a small bench.
The French president arriving in Nice today,
described the attack as a monstrosity.
Of the 200 people injured, he said 50 were hovering
TRANSLATION: We are facing a long battle because we are facing
an enemy who will continue to hate all the peoples, the countries,
who enjoy liberty, who put liberty as the essential value.
The flowers blooming on the barricades mark
a particular kind of pain, the slow knocking torture
Attacks that highlight the price of freedom, the failure
of fraternity and that brutal equaliser, death.
I think the most shocking thing about what happened last night was
this relentless procession of the truck down the road, it kept going
and lumbering and at 40 to 50 miles an hour, mowing down people in its
way, nothing to stop it. Only the actions of very brave police women
and men who were on the promenade who exchanged gunfire 300 metres
from where the lorry stopped, and again, eventually killing the
driver, ported to a halt. By that time, 84 people had been killed.
Our correspondent Jon Donnison has more details.
It was supposed to be a night of celebration.
It ended in confusion, chaos and carnage.
The attack started around 11pm local time, as thousands
of families strolled home after a night of fireworks.
The lorry was heading east along the Promenade des Anglais,
and picked up speed on a rampage that was to last
Within minutes, the first casualties were reported.
The driver began to swerve from side to side, trying to kill as many
He then careered into the pedestrian area.
Armed police opened fire, but couldn't stop him,
as he continued to plough through the crowd.
Eyewitnesses say he was travelling at around 50 mph.
You can see the Promenade des Anglais just behind the famous
Hotel Negresco at the bottom of this street.
By this point, several minutes into the attack,
he had already killed dozens of people and it was to be 300
or 400 more metres that way before he was finally stopped,
Finally, further down the promenade, using heavy fire, police managed
to stop the lorry and kill the driver, as people fled in panic.
Matthew Scouller, from Kingston upon Thames,
to be a dream holiday with his girlfriend.
Today, he knows they are lucky to be alive.
There was a lady in front of us on a scooter, with her kids,
She wasn't trampled, but there were people
People were picking up kids and running,
and the kids were crying, as you can imagine.
People didn't really know what was going on.
This was not a high-tech attack, but the brutality and the banality
of the method make it all the more terrifying.
It very difficult thing to come to terms with those who were here, it
Bastille day separations are very colourful and loud, and they can be
very confusing, they can be. Let's speak to an eyewitness,
Simon Coates. I know this has been a difficult day
for your wife, I will speak to you. Tell me what you saw. We just left
the fireworks and we both cycling home along the cycle track of the
promenade. We got separated in the crowd, and as I was halfway home,
about one kilometre from here, I saw that there was a white van veering
down the promenade, actually on the pedestrian section. At first I
thought it was out of control, but then I heard the screams and I
realised it was aiming at people and it was not out of control, the
driver was directing it at people. Within a few seconds, it was almost
upon me. I looked to my left and there was an older man, and a young
boy, about ten, the truck aimed straight for them. I dived slightly
to my right, the little boy, I do not know how, he managed to get away
by inches with the truck aimed at him. I then realised that this guy
was heading straight towards where I expected my wife would be coming so
I turned around and followed the truck, and awaited devastation, body
after body. I must have checked about four dozen, five dozen people
to see if it was my wife. So you had lost your wife Eddie
to see if it was my wife. So you had lost your wife and you did not know
if she was one of these people? That's right, I didn't know. I was
cycling past trying to identify whether one of these people were my
wife. Some of the people had been hit head on, a lot had been dragged
under the lorry and were not recognisable, so I was looking to
see if I could recognise her bike or item of clothing or shoes. I did not
see anybody that I recognised that I was not completely reassured so I
followed the white lorry until it came to stop behind us by the Hotel
Negresco, yards beyond that. I got to within 20 yards and I saw the
policeman was standing there pointing his gun into the passenger
window. I realised that there were no further bodies, no more to check
beyond that. And the police were screaming to get away, they thought
there was a bomb. So I turned round as quickly as I could. The ground
was very slippery with what was left of some people. And I almost fell
over. But I managed to turn around and head back up the promenade. And
I saw some dreadful things. It was like a chamber of horrors. Every
person seemed to have died in an increasingly grotesque way. And all
that horror, mixed with the terror that Amanda had been caught up in
it. Yes, I did not know if she was alive or dead. I tried ringing her
but her phone was not switched on. It had no charge. It took about 20
minutes before we were able to get to each other. And that was the
longest 20 minutes of my life. I know you did not want to speak, but
you had to cycle path this as well. Is it your firm belief that those
brave policeman, if they had not had jumped in... If they had not done
what they had done, when I arrived, I could see that there was almost an
open road before this man. The reason he had come off the promenade
is because there was a gazebo which had stopped his progress so he had
veered onto the road. If he had not been stopped, she would have been
into the major crowds. There were drips and drabs, he killed 84
people, they were in dribs and drabs. If he had got into the
hundreds of thousands, they could have all died. Were it not for them,
this could have been... It is bad enough now, but it could have been
in calculable Lee Westwood. A policeman -- it hack could have been
so much worse. I hear a policewoman was involved, he/she jumped onto the
cab. How do you -- she jumped onto the cab. How do you come to terms
with it? The may be important thing is that my wife is safe, that is a
big part. You are left wondering how you can call yourself a human being,
how you can say you follow God, and do something like this. They do not
match up. What was done here, families were aimed at, repeatedly.
Children. I saw one lady with a double boy, who had died, she was
just lying next to him, talking in his ear, very calmly. I saw other
people who were hysterical. These were families which were broken
apart in a split second. No mercy at all. He veered left and right to hit
as many people as he could. When I was coming back, I saw lots of
plastic shards, long pieces of plastic, and I could not work out
what they were. And then I realised that these were the sea front
benches that people had been hiding behind and he had moaned them down.
-- he had mowed them down. It was horrific. I spoke to other
eyewitnesses who said that people were running from the back streets
and then running another way, another attack could have been other
way. There were a lot of rumours, there was a rumour which spread
quickly about how there could have been a bomb in the old quarter, I do
not know anything about that, I only saw what was on the promenade. And
when you walked through the door and saw Amanda? It was the best feeling
in the world. She had also been worried about me so she didn't know
if I was one of the people on the promenade and I did not know if she
was once so it was wonderful. We are very grateful to be together. And I
think that helps a lot. The things that were done here were inhuman.
You are here on holiday? Yes. So you are passionate about France. We do
like France, who come every year. It is more heartbreaking when you think
about the country and what it is going through. It is. We have
friends here, we have been coming here many years, we know the local
shopkeeper and the concierge, they are all devastated. Everyone knows
someone involved, whether they are in the emergency services, or their
child was missing, one of the ladies in the apartment we are staying in
has a young child in the hospital. Everybody has been affected. As you
will see behind us, all of the beaches are closed as a mark of
respect for the people that died. People are just walking around in a
daze today. A lot of them were here last night. That's right. Certainly,
I think I was one of the very few people he was travelling up and down
in the immediate aftermath. But gradually people began to appear to
try and help do what they could the people. I was desperately trying to
find my wife, by the time I had found her, the promenade is being
closed off. The emergency services were starting to arrive. There were
some very brave people who tried to do what they could but I have to say
that most of the people who were injured were beyond help. I think a
very high proportion of those people hit were killed outright. If you do
not when methane, you both seem to be in shock, is there somewhere you
can go and people you can talk to, do you have family here? We have
been speaking to our family regularly through the day, we
obvious we have each other, so that has been a big kelp. Visit --
obviously have each other, so that has been a big help. Thank you for
talking to us, I know it has been upsetting, I hope you take great
care of yourself. Simon and his wife Amanda, extraordinary, some of the
eyewitness accounts. Let's talk about the attacks in France. There
have Against a perfect Riviera backdrop,
the grisly investigation has begun. French crime scene officers have
been piecing together the final Named as Tunisian born
Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, he is believed to have lived in this
apartment building in Nice. Neighbours described his
behaviour as odd. If we arrived at the building
behind him, he would slam the door Investigators have seized anything
that could throw a light on why Bouhlel committed such
an abominable act. He was known by the police
for violence and petty theft He was convicted in March
and sentenced by the court But there was nothing to suggest any
sign of radicalisation. Only yesterday, during
the Bastille Day parade, it was expected that France's state
of emergency would be ended. Now it has been extended and 10,000
troops have been mobilised. France is clearly a top target
for so-called Islamic State or IS. It has the largest number of foreign
fighters in Syria and Iraq, and also, the leadership
of Islamic State now includes two Frenchman who have nothing else
as a desire but to hit France. Using lorries like this was a call
made by IS two years ago. It has established a network
of supporters in every The security service
here and the police anti-terror command are working closely
with the French They are looking to see
if there is any investigation that could link the attacker
in Nice with anybody here. The government is reviewing
its safety procedures to reduce the chances of a similar attack
succeeding here in Britain. Tonight, the instrument of so many
people's death and injury has Can France's next terror
attack be stopped? All of this is happening in the
context of a presidential election which is just around the corner, a
lot of soul-searching in France, French President Francois Hollande
has been here today, the country is already in the state security but he
is upping the anti-little bit, putting another 10,000 Army
reservists on the streets, in Nice and around France, tightening the
Borders and looking again at security and intelligence procedures
to see if there is anything they could have done.
Let's speak to Jacques Reland, a specialist in French
politics and security policy at the Global Policy Institute.
He joins us via webcam from Saint-Malo in Brittany.
Good of you to join us. Let's talk first about the politics, because it
is important. Some of the things we have heard from Francois Hollande
today will have been said with one eye on what is going to be happening
next year and the threat that he faces politically from Marine Le Pen
and the National Front. Yes, indeed, and this time, unlike the other two
the events, the Bataclan killings and the Charlie Hebdo killing, this
time there was no national political unity. From early on this morning, a
spokesman for the right started attacking the president. Saying,
basing the attacks on the report released last week saying there were
intelligence failures. What they have failed to see is that the
intelligence failures resulted in a great part on the rear noticed that
a reorganisation of the intelligence services under Nicolas Sarkozy. You
feel that there is a political damage and this time, the
President's reaction is mixed, and the leaders of the right have been
very critical of Francois Hollande. The fate previous mayor of Nice,
Nice, Christian Estrosi, who said that the president was refundable.
Even though the profile of the attacker makes him someone who could
not be suspected. It is someone who used to drink... I am afraid I have
to interrupt you, I am very sorry, but we're out of time and we hope to
to you some more. -- talk to you some more.