Nice, France has just experienced a devastating terror attack. Holiday goers were watching a fireworks display when it took place. The jihadist started prowling the streets. See the details below.
At least 73 people are dead and more than 150 injured after they were mown down by a truck who drove more than a mile along the promenade ploughing down pedestrians in a suspected terror attack during the Bastille Day celebrations in the French city of Nice.
Eyewitnesses say there was an exchange of gunfire in the aftermath of the incident before the driver was shot dead. ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attack, according to unconfirmed reports in the French media. A second suspect is currently on the run according to French authorities.
Guns and grenades were later said to have been found inside the truck, which mounted the pavement at approximately 40mph and steered directly towards hundreds of people watching a fireworks display.
Anti-terror police swooped in as the city was put on lockdown and residents were warned to stay indoors for their safety. Gunshots rang out in the streets, with gunmen targeting hotels and cafes in the port city in the south of France.
One witness called Antoine said: ‘We were at the Neptune beach and a firework display had just finished. That is when we saw a white lorry. It was going quickly at 60-70 kilometres an hour.’
The gunman jumped out of the truck after ploughing through the pedestrians and began opening fire, witnesses said. Officials said the driver was shot dead near the scene. A second suspect is thought to be on the run.
Eyewitness Wassim Bouhlel said that he saw a truck drive into the crowd and then witnessed the man emerge with a gun and start shooting.
‘There was carnage on the road,’ Bouhlel said. ‘Bodies everywhere.’
Anti terrorist police have taken over the investigation into the attack according to the French interior ministry.
Interior Ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet gave an update on the rapidly developing situation. He said: ‘There is no hostage-taking. An individual drove a truck into the crowd. He was killed by police.
‘Investigations are currently under way to establish if the individual acted alone or if he had accomplices who might have fled.’
Local politician Eric Ciotti said: ‘It’s a scene of horror.’ He confirmed the truck mowed down ‘several hundred people’.
A spokesman for the Alpes Maritime prefecture advised locals to ‘stay indoors’ as gunfire was heard, and a lorry was driven into a crowd on the Promenade des Anglais.
Eyewitnesses said there were ‘bodies everywhere’ with at least 150 people injured.
The truck driver crashed his vehicle and jumped out and started shooting.
Police are also searching for an accomplice.
At this stage, police are describing the incident as ‘a major criminal attack’.
Sebastian Humbert, prefect for the Alpes – Martime area said: ‘A truck rammed into the crowd over a long distance, which explains this extremely heavy toll.’
He said the driver has been shot dead by police. They are currently hunting for a second attacker.
The Gendarmerie Nationale tweeted: ‘Emergency operation in progress. Keep calm and avoid downtown area. Follow the official accounts to be informed.’
Bodies could be seen lying on the floor by the beach, as the police and other emergency services tried to deal with a mass panic.
British holidaymaker Esther Serwah, 59, was staying in a hotel a short walk from the scene.
She said she had been on her way to the Promenade des Anglais for dinner with her daughters when people started screaming at her.
Mrs Serwah, from Surrey, said: ‘I was just walking to the Promenade and then I saw everybody running and I just didn’t know what was going on.
‘People were screaming at me in French but I didn’t understand.
‘Some people were lying on the streets dead and people were running over the bodies.
‘Everybody was saying it’s a terrorist attack. It’s just horrible, horrible, horrible.
‘I’m in shock. I’m still shaking.’
According to the White House: ‘The president has been apprised of the situation in Nice, France, and his national security team will update him, as appropriate.’
French President Francois Hollande is heading to the Interior Ministry’s crisis centre.
Police shot and killed the driver, who drove at high speed for over 100 yards along the famed Promenade des Anglais seafront before hitting the mass of spectators, regional sub-prefect Sebastien Humbert told France Info radio.
Humbert described it as a clear criminal attack, although the driver was not yet identified. Residents of the Mediterranean city close to the Italian border were advised to stay indoors. There was no sign of any other attack.