Terror probe launched after lorry attack leaves '77 dead'

Dozens of people have been killed and many more injured after a truck crashed into a crowd of people on Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France.

  • A lorry has crashed into a crowd of people in Nice
  • Mayor has said at least '77 killed'
  • Driver shot dead
  • Sylvie Toffin, local authority press officer, has said the incident was deliberate
  • Fire at Eiffel Tower due to fireworks, incidents not connected

Terror probe launched after lorry attack leaves '77 dead'

Update 2.20am: The truck driver behind the attack has been reported to be of Tunisian origin, Nice-Matin has said.

Update 2.10am: Flags around Paris will be lowered to half-staff in tribute to the people killed in Nice attack.

Update 1.50am: US president Barack Obama condemned what he said "appears to be a horrific terrorist attack".

"Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and other loved-ones of those killed," he said.

Noting that the attack occurred on Bastille Day, Mr Obama praised "the extraordinary resilience and democratic values that have made France an inspiration to the entire world" and offered France "any assistance that they may need to investigate this attack and bring those responsible to justice".

France's ambassador to the United States, Gerard Araud, said the events in Nice were a "terrorist attack".

"Our democracies - France, the United States, our other partners , we are besieged, we face a terrible threat," he said at a Bastille Day reception at the French embassy in Washington.

Update 1.20am: At least 77 people have been killed.

The Obama administration has released a statement condemning “what appears to be a horrific terrorist attack.”

The Paris prosecutor's office opened an investigation for "murder, attempted murder in an organised group linked to a terrorist enterprise".

The probe is being handled by France's intelligence agency and judicial police.

The president of the Provence Alpes Cote d'Azur regional council, which includes Nice, said the truck was loaded with arms and grenades and the driver was killed by police.

Christian Estrosi told BFM TV that "the driver fired on the crowd, according to the police who killed him".

Mr Bouhlel said he saw the man emerge with a gun and start shooting.

Update 12.50am: Reports suggest 73 people have been killed and one hundred injured.

The Paris prosecutor's office has opened a terrorism investigation over the attack.

Update 12.30am: Nice Mayor has told BFM TV that the truck was loaded with weapons and grenades.

Update 12.15am: Mayor of Nice has confirmed that "more than 70" people have been killed.

Presumptive US Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump was due to name his running mate on Friday morning, but said he was postponing the announcement in "in light of the horrible attack in Nice, France".

Update 12.10am: Reports are now stating that the death toll has reached 'at least 70'.

Update 12.05am: Reports now state that the fire at the Eiffel Tower was accidently caused by fireworks.

Update 11.50pm: The president of Nice regional council said "tens of people" had been killed and Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet ttold BFM TV there would be several dozen fatalities.

"It's going to be a very high toll," Mr Brandet said.

Update 11.53pm: There are reports emerging of a fire at the Eiffel Tower.

Update 11.45pm: Sylvie Toffin, a local authority press officer, said the lorry "hit several people on a long trip" down the pavement near Nice's Palais de la Mediterranee, a building which fronts the beach, on Thursday night.

Eyewitness Wassim Bouhlel, a Nice native, said: "There was carnage on the road. Bodies everywhere."

Mr Bouhlel said he saw a man emerge from the vehicle with a gun and start shooting, but Ms Toffin said that "to my knowledge" there was no gunfire.

She said the incident was deliberate.

"It's an attack," she said. She did not have casualty figures.

It was not immediately clear who would have been behind the attack, but France has recently seen a spate of dramatic assaults from by jihadist groups, including the Islamic State which straddles Iraq and Syria.

Update 11.35pm: The Irish Embassy Paris have said that Irish citizens in Nice may contact them at 0144176700.

Update 11.25pm: French TV channel BFM said President Francois Hollande was returning to Paris from the city of Avignon to hold a crisis meeting at the Interior Ministry.

Colin Srivastava told BBC News: "We were basically sitting just in front of the Old Town in Nice and saw several hundred people running towards us looking panic stricken.

"We tried to ask a few of them what the hell was going on and finally got one that said, 'You need to go, the police have told us to run'.

"Just around about the base of the hill where the castle is in Nice the police came running along and said, 'Run now'.

"We had absolutely no idea what was going on, to be honest with you.

"When we got down into the port in Nice we were told by a few people who'd obviously run faster than we had that there was the story of a lorry that had gone into the people, basically cannoned into the crowd, and there were also shots fired, which is something we didn't hear about until just now on French news."

Bastille Day is France's national day, marking the start of the revolution in 1798 when the prison of the same name was stormed by protesters against the autocratic rule of King Louis XVI.

Terror probe launched after lorry attack leaves '77 dead'

Update 11.20pm: An eyewitness has said he saw a lorry driver slam his vehicle into a crowd of Bastille Day revellers in the French resort city of Nice and then emerge shooting, killing many.

Wassim Bouhlel, a Nice native who spoke near Nice's Promenade du Paillon on Thursday night, said he saw a lorry drive into the crowd and the man then emerged with a gun and started shooting.

"There was carnage on the road," Mr Bouhlel said. "Bodies everywhere."

Update 11.10pm: Nice mayor Christian Estrosi, who was at the celebration when it happened, tweeted: "Dear people of Nice, the driver of a truck seems to have left dozens dead. Stay for now in your home. More info to come."

Earlier: It has been reported that a truck crashed into a crowd of people on Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France.

Witnesses reported that the truck drove into a crowd that were watching the fireworks celebration of Bastille Day.

In several videos posted online, people can be seen running in panic.

Many people have been reportedly injured and there are unconfirmed reports of gunfire.

An eyewitness has reported "bodies everywhere".

Local media outlet, BFMTV, reports that at least thirty people are dead after the apparent attack in Nice.

Local media has dubbed the incident an act of terror, reporting at least 50 fatalities. No official confirmation has been released so far.

People are being advised to stay indoors.

More as we get it.


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