Lucky for the people in the area the police were around to stop this terrorist from claiming more lives. If only they could have stopped the terrorist thug before he brutally murdered dozens of people.
This is the first picture of the ISIS fanatic who killed 84 people including at least ten children found on an ID card next to his body after he was shot dead by police in the 25-tonne lorry he used as a murder weapon on his mile-long killing spree.
The killer, named locally as French Tunisian Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, a married father of three, mounted pavements at high speed and ploughed through crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice last night.
One eyewitness filmed armed officers approaching the cab of the lorry and firing repeatedly through its windscreen and doors before it appears Bouhlel can be heard screaming after being hit by a police bullet.
The shootout came after his 30 minute rampage where he aimed at crowds watching firework and sent ‘bodies flying like bowling pins’ and left others ‘jammed’ under the lorry’s wheels at around 10.30pm local time last night.
Witness Nadar El Shafei told the BBC: ‘He died inside the vehicle – I saw his head [hanging] out of the window , they kept shooting him from all sides just to be sure. Then they asked us to run away in case there were others inside the car or a bomb.’
Heartbroken men and women refused to leave the bodies of their loved ones and the dead remain strewn across the famous Promenade des Anglais today. Hundreds have now laid flowers in their memory as President Hollande said ‘many foreigners have died’ and at least 50 more people are ‘between life and death’.
French citizens, two Americans, one Armenian and one Ukrainian are among the dead with several Britons among the injured while dozens of panicked people have posted images of loved-ones still missing using the hashtags #Nice06 and #recherchenice.
At least ten of the victims were children, with young girls and boys lying dead covered in a blankets with their dolls and buggies still next to them. Footage taken at the time of the attack shows bodies piled up in the roads and people running from their lives as they tried to avoid the zig-zagging lorry while paramedics treated the injured and dying in the street.
The truck driver, who was known to police, was said to have shouted ‘Allahu Akbar’ – God is great in Arabic – before being killed in a clear suicide mission. Pro-ISIS groups have been celebrating the attack, orchestrated to coincide with France’s most important national holiday.
A huge cache of guns, grenades and ‘larger weapons’ and the terrorist’s identity papers were later found inside the lorry, which mounted the pavement at approximately 40mph and steered directly towards hundreds of people watching a fireworks display.
ISIS supporters have been celebrating the attack, orchestrated to coincide with France’s most important national holiday. The gunman was known to police for crimes of theft and violence, but not intelligence services, a police source said. A suspected accomplice is on the run.
France today declared three days of national mourning after the truck attack – its third major terror attack in 18 months – and President Francois Hollande said: ‘France is in tears, it is hurting but it is strong and she will be stronger – always stronger than the fanatics who wish to hurt us.’
Truck terrorist Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel was an ‘unlikely jihadist’ who flouted every rule of Islam, his cousin told MailOnline today.
The 31-year-old – who wreaked terror on the Nice seafront as he turned an evening celebrating Bastille Day into a night of terror in which he murdered 84 innocent people – drank alcohol, ate pork and took drugs.
He never prayed or attended a mosque, and hit his wife – with whom he had three children – and was in the process of getting a divorce.
Bouhlel, who had been known to the French police since January, had been on the radar for six months for petty criminality.
It is understood he lost his job as a delivery driver when he fell asleep at the wheel and crashed into four cars.
Yesterday, he was stopped by police just hours before he crushed scored of people underneath the wheels of his 25 tonne truck and fired shots indiscriminately at police and innocent bystanders.
He told officers that he was delivering ice-cream to the area and was allowed to park on the waterfront for several hours.
Horrifying footage of the moment the truck turned into a deadly juggernaut were uploaded online within minutes, showing a trail of dead bodies left in its path.
Walid Hamou, a cousin of Bouhlel’s wife Hajer, told MailOnline: ‘Bouhlel was not religious. He did not go to the mosque, he did not pray, he did not observe Ramadan.
‘He drank alcohol, ate pork and took drugs. This is all forbidden under Islam. He was not a Muslim, he was a s***. He beat his wife, my cousin, he was a nasty piece of work.’
Detectives had raided the 12th floor apartment she had shared with her estranged husband in the early hours of the morning and another rented property nearby.
More disturbing facts emerged about Bouhlel’s frame of mind in the hours leading to his murderous rampage on the Promenade des Anglais.
Wissam, a Tunisian neighbour from the same village as the driver claimed: ‘On the Thursday night he was drinking with a colleague and they argued. His pal said you’re worth nothing and he replied: ‘One day, you’ll hear about me.’
Speaking to L’Express he said: Look this is someone who drinks, smokes cannabis.’
Bouhlel’s wife was taken into protective custody by police this morning was held for questioning on Friday, a police source said, adding investigators are seeking to establish his motives and are also looking for possible accomplices.
The Nice terrorist rented the lorry two days earlier and had been parked on the street for nearly nine hours and even told police he was delivering ice cream before carrying out his deadly attack, according to reports.
The killer, who was previously known to police for violence and theft, is reported to have had assault rifles, a pistol and even a grenade with him in the lorry – but they went undiscovered.
Despite allegedly questioning the driver, police officers in the southern French city did nothing to move him on as he waited to begin the attack.
He was shot dead by a police officer, believed to have been female, after he opened fire into a crowd of fleeing people. A motorcyclist tried to stop the rampage by drawing level with the truck and attempting to open the door of its cab before he fell and ended up under its wheels.
Today the delivery truck, riddled with bullets, remains in the centre of Nice with bodies strewn nearby.
Details of those killed are slowly emerging in the aftermath of the attack.
Twenty-eight-year-old Hamza Charrihi held up an identity card belonging to her mother who was killed in the attack.
She told L’Express: ‘ She wore the veil of Islam and practiced a true and blanced religion…a real Islam. Not the one of the terrorists.’
Recovering from shock in a University building in the centre of Nice, turned into a shelter for relatives, she spoke briefly to pay testament to the memory of her mother.
Damien Allemand, a journalist for French regional newspaper Nice Matin saw the horror unfold.
He said the attack began just as the fireworks display ended as thousands of people were milling around the waterside.
He said: ‘He rode up onto the Prom and piled into the crowd. A fraction of a second later, an enormous white truck came along at a crazy speed, turning the wheel to mow down the maximum number of people,’ he said. I saw bodies flying like bowling pins along its route. Heard noises, cries that I will never forget.’
Witnesses of the attack in Nice described seeing people run through the streets as they heard gunshots.
Wassim Bouhel told the French TV channel iTele that the lorry zigzagged across the road.
He said: ‘We almost died. It was like hallucinating … (the lorry) zigzagged – you had no idea where it was going. My wife was a metre away.
‘The lorry ripped through everything, poles, trees. We have never seen anything like it. Some people were hanging on the door and tried to stop it.’
Neighbours of the man suspected to have killed scores of people in a truck attack on the Nice seafront described him Friday as a loner with no visible religious affiliation, as forensic experts searched his flat.
AFP reporters interviewed about a dozen neighbours of the man, named by police as 31-year-old Franco-Tunisian Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, whose identity papers were found in the truck.
They portrayed him as a solitary figure who rarely spoke and did not even return greetings when their paths crossed in the four-storey block, located in a working-class neighbourhood of Nice.
Sebastien, a neighbour who spoke on condition that his full name was not used, said Lahouaiej-Bouhlel did not seem overtly religious, often dressed in shorts and sometimes wore work boots.
He had a van parked nearby and owned a bike, which he brought up into his first-floor apartment.
Of those who were interviewed, only one, a neighbour on the ground floor, said she had had any concerns about him – he was ‘a good-looking man who kept giving my two daughters the eye.’
Police investigators and forensic experts entered his apartment around 9.30am with an armed police intervention unit in support, and brought out bags of material later.
At least 84 people were killed when the white 19-tonne truck slammed into the crowd on the Promenade des Anglais, Nice’s glitzy beachfront, as they gathered to watch a firework display on France’s national day.
Russian student Victoria Savchenko, 21, was killed instantly when she was hit by the truck as she walked with her friend Polina Serebryannikova, 22, in Nice last night.
Polina today described how she saw the truck career through the crowd just moments before it hit Victoria, a student at the Russian government’s elite Financial University in Moscow.
Sean Copeland, 51, and his 11-year-old son Brodie, who were on vacation in France at the time of the attack, have been confirmed dead by friends and family online.
Haley Copeland wrote on Facebook: ‘By now many of you have heard about the 80 people that have died in Nice, France today from a terrorist attack driving through a parade.
‘2 of those 80 people were American and those 2 people happen to be uncle Sean and 11 year old cousin Brodie.
‘They were there on vacation with my two other cousins and aunt celebrating a birthday.’
People posted images of friends, brothers and sisters, mothers and numerous young people who they have been unable to reach since at least 84 people were killed in the southern French city.
A Scottish woman has launched a desperate online appeal for information to help find her sister and brother-in-law who are currently missing in Nice.
Carol Cowan, 27, and her husband Ross, 30, were on the French Riviera on holiday when a lorry ploughed through crowds celebrating Bastille Day killing 84 people.
The couple, from Helensburgh, Argyll and Bute, have not been heard from since and neither have they updated their social media profiles.
Mrs Cowan’s sister Amy Stanton told the Daily Record: ‘We are all just desperately hoping that they will get in touch. The longer that goes by without them getting in touch, the more worried we are all becoming.’
Many others of the heartbreaking messages posted on Twitter include photos of mothers and daughters, young people, and show screenshots of frantic messages sent to the missing, with no reply.
Around 100 people were forced to dive into the sea as panic ensued and holiday crowds desperately ran for their lives. The gunman then jumped out of the truck and opened fire, which is when he was shot dead by police.
French President Francois Hollande said several children were among the dead and added that it was ‘undeniable’ the massacre was a terrorist attack.
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 the gunman 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.’
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.’
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.
Witness Lucy Nesbitt-Comaskey told Sky News that the noise of gunfire ‘sounded like Beirut’.
She said: ‘I said to my friend ‘This doesn’t sound like fireworks, it sounds like Beirut when it’s under fire’.
‘All of a sudden people were screaming in the streets and running into all the restaurants.
‘All the restaurants were open and people were coming.
‘We were just sitting there and everyone came into our restaurant and the owners were saying ‘Please don’t go anywhere, come in, come in’.
Ms Nesbitt-Comaskey said she and her friend were planning to go to the fireworks but stopped to find a toilet and were only a block away when the attack happened.
Speaking about what she witnessed, she said: ‘It was shocking, it was devastating and I cannot believe that I have come over here for a few days and I have got mixed up in something so tragic.
‘It was just awful.’
Briton Will Shore was in a nearby bar when he heard gunfire and said his initial reaction was to run towards the city centre to see what was happening.
He told the BBC: ‘I kind of ran towards the centre of Nice where there was a rather large jazz festival, and something was going on. I immediately found that military and the local police were just ushering absolutely everybody out of the area.
‘It was quite chaotic really. There was a lot of people screaming, running around and people were kind of being pushed over, I think, from people just being so frightened about what was going on, especially after hearing the gunshots.
‘I had to help a couple of people up who were in distress on the floor because everyone was in such a panic.’
He added: ‘You could genuinely see the fear and panic in people’s faces when they were running away. It was a mass amount of people running away’.