Monday

22nd Apr 2019

84 dead in lorry attack in France

  • The lorry drove into the crowd for about 2 kilometers before police could shoot and kill the driver (Photo: Reuters)

At least 84 people were killed on Thursday evening (14 July) when a lorry ran into a crowd in Nice in southern France, in what looks like a terrorist attack.

The assault took place on Bastille Day, France's national holiday.

Read and decide

Join EUobserver today

Support quality EU news

Get instant access to all articles — and 18 year's of archives. 30 days free trial.

... or join as a group

A white lorry drove at high speed on the Promenade des Anglais, Nice's seafront avenue, just before 11PM. The avenue had been closed to traffic and was packed with people who had just watched the Bastille Day fireworks.

The lorry drove for about 2 kilometres through the crowd before police shot and killed the driver.

Witnesses told French media that they saw "people fly like skittles" and that the lorry drove in zig-zag pattern "to hit as many people as possible".

The attack killed at least 84 people, including children. About 100 people were injured and 18 of them were in a state of "absolute emergency" on Friday morning.

Identity papers belonging to a 31-year old Franco-Tunisian man were found in the lorry, which had been rented a few days ago. The man was known to police for petty crimes, but had not been linked to terrorism. Police are still trying to determine whether the driver was the man depicted in the ID.

According to a former Nice mayor, heavy weapons were found in the lorry and the driver also shot several times at the crowd. This was not yet confirmed by police on Friday morning.

"The terrorist nature of this attack cannot be denied," French president Francois Hollande said in a TV address during the night.

"France was struck on the day of its national holiday, the 14th of July, a symbol of freedom, because human rights are denied by fanatics and because France is inevitably their target," he said.

"All France is under threat of Islamic terrorism," he said.

Hollande decided to extend a state of emergency for three months, to maintain a high level of security measures, with 10,000 military personnel deployed around the country, and to recall reservists to help.

The state of emergency had been declared on 13 November last year, during previous terror attacks in Paris and extended twice. Hours before the Nice attack, Hollande had announced it would stop on 26 July.

The attack had not been claimed on Friday morning and Hollande did not say who might be responsible.

 But he said that France would "strengthen" its military operations in Syria and Iraq, where the Islamic State jihadist group is based.

"We will continue to strike in their hideout those who attack us," he said.

US president Barack Obama condemned "what appears to be a horrific terrorist attack".

European Council president Donald Tusk said it was a "tragic paradox that the subject of this attack were people celebrating liberty, equality and fraternity" and that "Europe stands united with the French people and their government.".

European Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker said he was afflicted by the ”cowardly attack" and that Europe's determination in the fight against terrorism would be "as firm as our unity".

Terror attack shuts down UK parliament

[Updated] Westminster, and its surrounding areas, has been sealed off after a car drove into several people and one policeman was stabbed. At least three people have been killed.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. Counter BalanceSign the petition to help reform the EU’s Bank
  2. UNICEFChild rights organisations encourage candidates for EU elections to become Child Rights Champions
  3. UNESDAUNESDA Outlines 2019-2024 Aspirations: Sustainability, Responsibility, Competitiveness
  4. Counter BalanceRecord citizens’ input to EU bank’s consultation calls on EIB to abandon fossil fuels
  5. International Partnership for Human RightsAnnual EU-Turkmenistan Human Rights Dialogue takes place in Ashgabat
  6. Nordic Council of MinistersNew campaign: spot, capture and share Traces of North
  7. Nordic Council of MinistersLeading Nordic candidates go head-to-head in EU election debate
  8. Nordic Council of MinistersNew Secretary General: Nordic co-operation must benefit everybody
  9. Platform for Peace and JusticeMEP Kati Piri: “Our red line on Turkey has been crossed”
  10. UNICEF2018 deadliest year yet for children in Syria as war enters 9th year
  11. Nordic Council of MinistersNordic commitment to driving global gender equality
  12. International Partnership for Human RightsMeet your defender: Rasul Jafarov leading human rights defender from Azerbaijan

Latest News

  1. Romania drafts EU code on NGO migrant rescues
  2. Bulgaria, Hungary, and Malta shamed on press unfreedom
  3. EU drafts $20bn US sanctions list in aviation dispute
  4. Brunei defends stoning to death of gay men in EU letter
  5. US Democrats side with Ireland on Brexit
  6. Wifi or 5G to connect EU cars? MEPs weigh in
  7. How Brexit may harm the new EU parliament
  8. EU parliament backs whistleblower law

Join EUobserver

Support quality EU news

Join us