World Middle East 18 Jul 2016 Nice truck strike & ...

Nice truck strike ‘practised twice’

AFP
Published Jul 18, 2016, 1:01 am IST
Updated Jul 18, 2016, 1:01 am IST
Bouhlel left Tunisia for France in 2005, and did not keep in regular contact with his family
Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, a 31-year-old delivery driver, was shot dead by police on Thursday night. (Photo: AP)
 Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, a 31-year-old delivery driver, was shot dead by police on Thursday night. (Photo: AP)

Nice: Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel staked out the Nice promenade with his rented truck twice in the two days before he smashed the vehicle into a crowd of people watching Bastille Day fireworks on Thursday night, according to a source close to the probe. French investigators have arrested two more people as they pieced together details about the motives and planning of Bouhlel.

While some family and friends have described the 31-year-old as someone who smoked, drank and never attended the local mosque, others questioned indicated “a recent shift to radical Islam”, said a police source. However there has been no evidence yet linking him to the Islamic State group, which on Saturday claimed the attack.

 

In Nice, many people were still desperately waiting for news of their loved ones among the dead. Prosecutors said only 35 victims have been officially identified as they take painstaking measures to avoid errors of identification seen during the November Paris attacks.

“We have no news, neither good nor bad,” said Johanna, a Lithuanian who was looking for her two friends, aged 20. At least 10 children were among the dead as well as tourists from the United States, Ukraine, Switzerland Germany and about 10 from Russia, a local Russian association said.

 

Health Minister Marisol Touraine said that 85 people were still hospitalised, 18 people of them in critical condition. On the second day of national mourning, the Russian Orthodox Church in Nice held an emotional mass for the victims. Another service was planned later at Paris’s iconic Notre-Dame cathedral.

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