Families await news as France mourns Nice attack victims

Families await news as France mourns Nice attack victims

France has begun its third day of national mourning as tributes to victims of the Nice lorry attack grow and investigations into their killer continues.

Eighty-four people died in Thursday's attack and 85 remain in hospital.

Relatives of those being treated in the city's hospitals comforted each other at the weekend as they waited for news of their loved ones, injured when French-Tunisian father-of-three Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel drove a lorry into crowds celebrating Bastille Day on the Promenade des Anglais.

Seven people remain in custody following the massacre, some of whom are said to have helped Bouhlel obtain the pistol he used before being shot dead by police following his rampage.

Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel.
Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel.

He is believed to have been radicalised recently, with former neighbours saying they were shocked by his actions.

They claimed he was not a devout Muslim and could not have been an extremist who the so-called 'Islamic State' (IS) group described as one of its "soldiers".

French prime minister Manuel Valls said 'IS' was encouraging people not on the radar of security services, such as Bouhlel, to carry out attacks.

The country's health minister Marisol Touraine said 18 of the victims in hospital were in a life-threatening condition.

A 21-year-old French medical student who volunteered to help at the Pasteur hospital said he had been one of many who helped with the bodies.

The student, who would not give his name, told the Press Association: "It was all about helping identify and move bodies, dead bodies."

Bunches of flowers and candles left on the Promenade des Anglais, many at the exact spots where people were killed, have swelled in number.

Tourists have flocked back to the waterside route since it reopened two days after the attack, with the restaurants and hotels once again busy.

France has stepped up its security measures further in the wake of the atrocity, but many in the city said they had long been used to a visible military presence.

Families await news as France mourns Nice attack victims

Expat Barry Gallagher who runs a bar in Nice, said: "We have been used to having the army on the streets for a long time now."

The Dubliner, who has lived in the city for eight years, said he was happy to stay in the face of the apparent targeting of France.

He added: "It can happen anywhere, there is no point in living life like that. You would never go out again if that was the attitude."

The Pope prayed for the end of "terror and death" as he expressed solidarity with the victims and a book of condolence in Nice Cathedral is full of tributes to those who died and their families.

A minute's silence will be held across France later on Monday in memory of the victims.

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