A large trailer truck is believed to have forced its way through a barricade and charged into the crowd on the famous Promenade des Anglais at Nice in France on Friday night.
Police reportedly opened fire on the occupants of the truck. The exact sequence of events however remains unclear. It does however appear certain the driver of the truck was shot dead. This however occurred after the truck had mown down scores of people, killing and injuring well over a hundred while it travelled at speed over more than two kilometres. According to Bernard Cazeneuve, the Interior Minister of France, at least 84 people have been confirmed dead, however that number could rise as a number of people have been critically injured.
At this stage it is not known whether there were any occupants other than the driver in the truck, which was found with guns and explosives.
France has been on high alert since the the attacks in Paris in November in which 130 people were killed and hundreds more injured.
Nice is the fifth most populated city in the country and is located just 13 kilometres from Monte Carlo, capital of the tiny principality of Monaco. It is the second largest French city on the Mediterranean coast.
Police and emergency services rushed to the scene with reports that around 100 ambulances had converged on what was until the attack a place of celebration, but which now resembles a war zone.
French President Francois Hollande left Avignon for emergency talks at the French Interior Ministry. Afterwards he addressed the nation. “France is badly hit, we need to do everything we can to fight against such attacks,” he said.
“All of France is under the threat of Islamic terrorism.”
Local authorities have warned people in Nice to stay inside their homes. A crisis line has been set up for people wishing to obtain information at 00 33 (0)1 43 17 56 46.
There has been no claim of responsibility for the attack. The AFP news agency has confirmed local authorities have retrieved identity papers from the truck belonging to a 31-year old French Tunisian who is a resident of Nice. Police are continuing their identification process of the driver and any other occupants of the truck killed in the attack. The recovery of any ID papers does not necessarily establish the identity of any party as the papers may be unrelated to any occupants of the truck at the time of the attack or could have been planted.