At least 73 people are dead and more than 150 injured after they were mown down by a truck who drove more than a mile along the promenade ploughing down pedestrians in a suspected terror attack during the Bastille Day celebrations in the French city of Nice.
Eyewitnesses say there was an exchange of gunfire in the aftermath of the incident before the driver was shot dead. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to unconfirmed reports in the French media. A second suspect is currently on the run according to French authorities.
Guns and grenades were later said to have been found inside the truck, which mounted the pavement at approximately 40mph and steered directly towards hundreds of people watching a fireworks display.
Anti-terror police swooped in as the city was put on lockdown and residents were warned to stay indoors for their safety. Gunshots rang out in the streets, with gunmen targeting hotels and cafes in the port city in the south of France.
One witness called Antoine said: ‘We were at the Neptune beach and a firework display had just finished. That is when we saw a white lorry. It was going quickly at 60-70 kilometres an hour.’
The gunman jumped out of the truck after ploughing through the pedestrians and began opening fire, witnesses said. Officials said the driver was shot dead near the scene. A second suspect is thought to be on the run.
Eyewitness Wassim Bouhlel said that he saw a truck drive into the crowd and then witnessed the man emerge with a gun and start shooting.
‘There was carnage on the road,’ Bouhlel said. ‘Bodies everywhere.’
Anti terrorist police have taken over the investigation into the attack according to the French interior ministry.
Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet gave an update on the rapidly developing situation. He said: ‘There is no hostage-taking. An individual drove a truck into the crowd. He was killed by police.
‘Investigations are currently under way to establish if the individual acted alone or if he had accomplices who might have fled.’
Local politician Eric Ciotti said: ‘It’s a scene of horror.’ He confirmed the truck mowed down ‘several hundred people’.
A spokesman for the Alpes Maritime prefecture advised locals to ‘stay indoors’ as gunfire was heard, and a lorry was driven into a crowd on the Promenade des Anglais.
Eyewitnesses said there were ‘bodies everywhere’ with at least 150 people injured.
The truck driver crashed his vehicle and jumped out and started shooting.
Police are also searching for an accomplice.
At this stage, police are describing the incident as ‘a major criminal attack’.
Sebastian Humbert, prefect for the Alpes – Martime area said: ‘A truck rammed into the crowd over a long distance, which explains this extremely heavy toll.’
SOURCE: Daily Mail