Monday 26 September 2016

Islamic State claim responsibility for Nice truck attack as French police arrest five

independent.ie newsdesk and agencies

Published 16/07/2016 | 09:00

Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel. Copyright: Kapitalis.com
Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel. Copyright: Kapitalis.com
A man covered with a towel is apprehended by French police as the investigation continues two days after an attack by the driver of a heavy truck who ran into a crowd on Bastille Day killing scores and injuring as many on the Promenade des Anglais, in Nice. Photo: REUTERS/Eric Gaillard

Islamic State has claimed it carried out the Nice truck attack in statement carried by group's media outlet.

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Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel who drove a truck into a crowd in the French city of Nice killing at least 84 was described as a "soldier" of Islamic State, the group's media outlet said.

The Aamaq news agency cited a "security source" as saying the attacker "carried out the operation in response to calls to target the citizens of coalition countries fighting the Islamic State".

The statement did not name the attacker, and the language implied that he may have acted independently. There is no evidence IS was involved in planning the July 14 attack.

The attack killed 84 people and wounded 200. The driver was identified as Mohamed Bouhlel, a Tunisian known to authorities as a petty criminal.

The statement came as the French prosecutor's office confirmed five people are in custody over the Bastille day attack that killed at least 84 people when a truck rammed into crowds in the Riviera city.

A reproduction of the residence permit of Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, the man who rammed his truck into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
A reproduction of the residence permit of Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, the man who rammed his truck into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in Nice. Photo: AFP/Getty Images
A woman carries blue, white and red flowers and a French flag as a tribute to victicms two days after an attack by the driver of a heavy truck who ran into a crowd on Bastille Day killing scores and injuring as many on the Promenade des Anglais, in Nice, France, July 16, 2016. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

French authorities were still trying to determine whether the 31-year old Tunisian driver of the vehicle had acted alone or with accomplices, and whether his motives were connected to radical Islam.

The arrests concerned the attacker's "close entourage", the sources said, and were made in two different areas of Nice. A Reuters reporter saw about 40 elite police raid a small appartment at Rue Miollis, north of the central station, where one individual was arrested.

Reuters

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