Friday 9 December 2016

Why an attack on Nice was a clever choice by terrorists

The city has a large Muslim population not confined to ‘banlieues’, and it’s also by far the most right-wing of the French urban centres, writes John Lichfield

John Lichfield

Published 16/07/2016 | 02:30

Policemen walk past several sheets that had been used to cover the dead after they were killed on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. AFP/Getty Images
Policemen walk past several sheets that had been used to cover the dead after they were killed on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice. AFP/Getty Images
Forensic officers remove one of the many bodies from the scene. AFP/Getty Images
Click to view full size graphic
Floral tributes on the promenade in Nice. AFP/Getty Images

France had just started to breathe normally again. The Euro 2016 football championship had passed off without terrorist attack. President Francois Hollande had announced that the state of emergency, declared after the November 13 attacks in Paris, would lapse at the end of this month. The summer holidays were starting. The economy was beginning to revive. And now this. The truck attack on Bastille Day on crowds watching fireworks at the Nice seafront has all the fingermarks of devilish timing and planning by Isis.

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The attack happened on a day which celebrates the French, and western values of democracy and fraternity. It targeted families, including children and babies, at a moment of joy and relaxation. It targeted a city which symbolises France as the world’s most popular tourist destination and a beacon of joie de vivre.

There is something doubly and trebly terrifying about the use of a banal 20-tonne delivery truck to deliver 84 brutal, callous and pointless deaths.

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