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On Thursday night, a truck rammed into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in the French Riviera city of Nice killing at least 84 people in what looks like an apparent terrorist attack. The driver also opened fire on revelers before being shot dead by police.

After a fireworks display for the French national day on the Promenade des Anglais, the truck plowed into the crowd on a seaside walk in this southern French city. Early Friday morning, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve announced that in addition to the dead, another 18 people were in critical condition.

According to the Washington Post, Communications Director Stephanie Simpson said that sue to the attack, the city’s children’s hospital said it had treated more than 50 minors including some that still hung between “life and death.”  After the attack, the large white truck remained on the palm-lined boulevard, its screen riddled with bullets.

Witnesses described total chaos, with the bursting of gunfire and people screaming as they fled the scene. Graphic video and photographs flooding social media showed the victims strewn for a mile along the boulevard where the truck plowed into the crowd.

France has declared three days of mourning beginning Saturday and flags will fly at half-mast. President of the regional council, Christian Estrosi told French television channel BFM TV that “the driver fired on the crowd” and his behavior seemed to be “completely premeditated.”  Estrosi said over 10 children were killed in the attack.

Also during a series of Twitter messages, he added that the truck was carrying arms and explosives when it struck the crowd about 10:30 p.m. local time.  In an address early Friday morning, President François Hollande condemned the “attack whose terrorist nature cannot be denied.” The President announced that France would intensify its military efforts in Syria and Iraq and that the country’s state of emergency, which had been imposed after Islamist militants killed 130 people in Paris last November, would be extended three months.

Thursday night in Washington, President Obama released a statement condemning the attack and said he had directed his team to get in touch with French officials to assist with the investigation.  The statement said “We stand in solidarity and partnership with France, our oldest ally, as they respond to and recover from this attack.”

According to the SITE Intelligence Group which monitors extremist statements, the Islamic State has previously called for attacks using vehicles.


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