From ABC news from the USA, about France:
By David Caplan
July 15, 2016, 12:00 AM ET
A Moroccan university student vacationing in Nice is grateful to be alive after the truck driven by a terrorist that plowed into a large crowd during Bastille Day celebrations Thursday night missed crushing the 20-year-old by less than eight inches.
Everyone’s solidarity should be with the survivors and loved ones of the victims of this crime.
The truck driver responsible for this atrocity was definitely a ‘terrorist’ in the sense that he aimed at striking terror into people and killed and injured many human beings. According to French police, the perpetrator was a local man with a record of non-political, non-religious violent crime. So, as far as we know now, not fitting into the media image of ‘terrorists’ as Islamic fanatics traveling from far away.
What was the motive for this unspeakable crime? We may never know, as police shot the perpetrator dead.
So far, I did not read a few questions in corporate media: Was the murderer drunk? On drugs? Did he have a conflict at work? Did he have a conflict with his family, making him hate ‘the whole world’ irrationally? Some possible motives, different from the usual cliché ‘The Muslims are at it again’ explanation.
Imad Dafaaoui’s evening started on a festive note, but turned near-deadly: “I was at my friend’s apartment, and we heard fireworks coming from the beach, so we decided to put on our clothes and go see the fireworks,” Daffaoui told ABC News early Friday morning from Nice. “We went there, we took photos.”
After the fireworks finished, Dafaaoui and his friend headed back to their car to grab a cell phone battery pack — and that’s when the pair’s night out turned into a nightmare.
“We were next to the Hotel Negresco, and we were taking pictures, and then we heard people screaming from the back,” he says. “We were like what’s going on? There were people running towards me, and people were screaming.”
Then, Dafaaoui spotted the truck on its deadly path. “I saw a huge truck, crushing over people,” he says. “It was running over people. Some people were trying to get out the way. Some people were in shock. I started to run away. I was in shock. I couldn’t even think. I was running. There was a bench in front of me, so I had to jump over it, so I jumped over it and fell over on a woman.”
He continues to recall his near-death experience, “That’s when the truck was coming toward me. I just closed my eyes. It was so close. I was just waiting to die. The truck was really close to me. The truck crashed the bench. It was 20 centimeters away from me. I was in shock.”
By Oscar Grenfell today:
According to initial reports, at least 84 people have been murdered and up to 130 more injured, after a lorry was deliberately ploughed at high speeds into crowds at a Bastille Day celebration in the city of Nice, in southern France, late Thursday night. The death toll from the horrific attack has continued to rise throughout the day. Some children are among the victims.
French President Francois Hollande travelled from the south of France to Paris for crisis talks, while the streets of Nice were flooded with heavily-armed police. Hollande immediately asserted that the atrocity was of a “terrorist nature.” …
As yet, no organisation has claimed responsibility for the attack.
Witnesses said they saw a large white truck speed into crowds that had gathered on the beachside Promenade des Anglais to watch fireworks celebrating the country’s national holiday, at around 10:30 pm. Nice, located on the French Riviera, is a popular destination for tourists and holidaying French nationals. …
Images on social media showed the nearby Hotel Negresco being used as a makeshift hospital for the wounded. Families with missing relatives published photos on social media, in the hope of news from their loved ones. …
If the perpetrators’ motives are confirmed, the incident in Nice will be the third mass casualty terrorist attack in France in the past 18 months.
In the two previous attacks, the terrorists were well-known to French intelligence agencies. They were part of a broader jihadist milieu with intimate connections to the Islamist groups that have operated as the chief proxy force of the US-led and French-backed regime-change operations in Libya and Syria.
On January 7, 2015, Saïd and Chérif Kouachi launched an attack on the offices of the Charlie Hebdo magazine, killing 11 and wounding 11 more. Their associate, Amedy Coulibaly, was killed in a hostage siege at a Jewish supermarket.
The Kouachi brothers had been under surveillance by security agencies between 2010 and 2015, because of their direct ties to leaders of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula (AQAP). French intelligence inexplicably stopped monitoring the brothers just months before they carried out the attack. It was also revealed that Coulibaly had received weapons from Claude Hermant, a police informant tied to the fascistic and anti-Muslim National Front. …
Each atrocity has been used to expand police and intelligence powers. Following the Paris attacks, the Hollande government instituted an unprecedented “state of emergency,” providing authorities with the power to ban demonstrations and detain suspects without charge. Over recent months, millions of French workers and students have defied the laws, engaging in mass demonstrations and strikes against the Socialist Party’s regressive El Khomri labour legislation.
The latest attack comes amid mounting social tensions and escalating French participation in US-led military operations in the Middle East, leading to warnings by security agencies of likely terrorist responses. …
In his Bastille Day speech earlier yesterday, Hollande announced that France would step-up its operations against Islamic State [ISIS], particularly targeting the city of Mosul. …
Like the US, the French government has actively backed Islamist groups in a bid to topple the Syrian regime of Bashar al-Assad. However, Washington viewed Islamic State [ISIS]’s advance into Iraq during 2014 as a threat to the US-backed government and its dominance of Iraqi oil and resources. The US and its allies, including France, have waged an air war on the Islamic State [ISIS], while continuing to back other Islamist forces within Syria.
In his speech, Hollande also pointed to the growth of social tensions within France and a mounting political crisis, declaring: “I must protect France, it’s fragile, it can crack at any moment.” He said his government would end the “state of emergency” after July 26, and reduce expanded police numbers put in place after the Paris attacks.
“We can’t prolong the state of emergency forever,” Hollande stated. “That would make no sense. It would mean that we were no longer a republic with laws which can apply in all circumstances.”
Hours later, he invoked the Nice atrocity to extend the extraordinary powers for another three months. He invited military volunteers to assist the police, and declared that there would be no reduction in police or military numbers.