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Terror Attack in France, over 70 People Killed in Nice

France’s national holiday turned bloody and violent Thursday night in the southern city of Nice, as a truck drove through crowds of Bastille Day revelers for more than a mile along a promenade.
French officials said more than 70 people were killed, as the death toll climbed throughout the night. The vehicle was a large white truck, similar to a tractor-trailer.
Eyewitnesses in Nice told CNN that it wasn’t merely a truck crashing into a building, bad as that can be, but a driver intentionally going onto pavements and barreling through seaside promenades at 20 or 30 mph for more than a mile.
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.”
Wassim Bouhlel told the Associated Press in Nice that he saw a truck ram through the crowd before the driver exited wielding a gun and firing at random. “There was carnage on the road,” Mr. Bouhlel told AP. “Bodies everywhere.” The driver was killed in an ensuing gunfight but a second gunman escaped.
Christian Estrosi, president of the governing council of the Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur region and a former Nice mayor, told the French TV network BFM that “the driver fired on the crowd, according to the police who killed him.” “The truck was loaded with arms, loaded with grenades,” he added.
A manhunt was in progress early Friday local time, as the national police force told Nice residents that “Emergency operation in progress. Keep calm and avoid downtown area. Follow the official accounts to be informed.”
“This is sad. Really sad,” said Chilani Kerdoni, 45, a hotel clerk here in Paris, who was watching slack-jawed as the disturbing images moved across the television in the lobby of the hotel where he works.
“I’m afraid. I’m shocked. We were just watching all the festivities in Paris and other places and then all of a sudden this happens in Nice,” he told The Times. “Now when something like this happens, we think automatically that it’s a terrorist attack. Even if we don’t know yet who did this, the first impression goes to terrorism.”
“I am especially worried about the people who are dead,” Mr. Kerdoni said. His voice choked up as he added: “They were trying to be happy on this night. They are dead now.”
There was no immediate claim of responsibility but according to the Twitter account of the terrorism-news portal, Islamic State affiliated Telegram accounts were posting images from Nice.
Islamist terror groups, sometimes using native-French Muslims, have targeted France repeatedly in recent years and the use of vehicles and car bombs are among their known tactics.
If the Nice incident turns out to be Islamist terrorism, it would fit with the predictions of several U.S. intelligence and law enforcement sources, who have told The Washington Times in recent weeks that they are particularly wary that another wave of attacks by Islamic State operatives may be imminent in Western Europe.
A terror attack in France on July 14 would be as symbolic as one in the U.S. on July 4. Bastille Day is France’s biggest public holiday, celebrating a Parisian mob’s storming of the eponymous royal prison on July 14, 1789, kicking off the French Revolution — the founding event of modern France.
The attack in Nice occurred as parades were being held in cities across France under tight security. The nation has been under an official state of emergency since last November’s coordinated Paris attacks by the Islamic State, which left 130 people dead, including 89 in a hostage situation at the Bataclan theater, and more than 360 injured.
French authorities have said the state of emergency would be lifted on July 26, although that promise could change as details emerge from the developments in Nice.
The nation also had just finished Sunday hosting of one of Europe’s biggest sporting events, the 2016 Euro soccer championships, which prompted terrorism fears also.
Security was particularly tight at a grand military parade down the Champs Elysées in Paris on Thursday, where members of the French intelligence services and Army marched for the annual Bastille Day celebrations.
U.S. Secretary of State John F. Kerry was among a host of special international guests at the parade. According to Ned Price, a spokesman for the National Security Council, President Obama “has been apprised of the situation in Nice, France, and his national security team will update him, as appropriate.”
In an interview on Fox News, presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump said the Nice attacks vindicated his tough stand on immigration and Islamism, even though the killers hadn’t been identified.
“We’re trying to be so politically correct and we’re making such big mistakes,” he said. “If it’s radical Islamic terrorism, [President Obama] ought to say it.”
He said that if he were president, “I would not allow people to come in from terrorist nations.”

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