At least 84 people were killed when an attacker plowed through a crowd gathered in Nice, France, for Bastille Day festivities.
As the country and world reel in shock, French President François Hollande already claims the purposeful mowing down of dozens to be a likely act of terrorism.
“The terrorist nature of the attack cannot be denied,” Hollande said early Friday. “We must show absolute vigilance and determination. All of France is under the threat of Islamic terrorism.”
Three days have been set aside to mourn victims of the horrific act, which happened as crowds assembled along Promenade des Anglais in advance of a fireworks display.
One witness, who said attendees had set off their own small fireworks throughout the day, described the scene prior to the attack as ‘jovial’ and ‘upbeat,’and told the Guardian:
“After being there for a little over ten minutes, we heard what sounded like fireworks going off and then heard screaming. All of a sudden, there were hundreds of panic-stricken people running our way and it was clear that if we did not move, we would get trampled. So we started running as fast as we could while having no idea what was going on.”
Two Americans from the Austin, Texas, area — father and son Sean and Brodie Copeland — were among the dead, though most victims are believed to be French citizens.
Police ultimately shot the driver of the truck to halt the carnage. In the aftermath, authorities identified the attacker as Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, a Tunisian who had a French visa and lived in Nice — and a petty criminal and delivery driver.
Once again, the West struggles to cope with an attack civilians in some areas of the Middle East have become all-too familiar with.
But something the …