Friday 23 March 2018

Killer with the George Clooney Hairstyle was a 'weird loner'

Jaber, the brother of 31-year-old Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel. Photo: AFP PHOTO / FETHI BELAIDFETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images

Harry Samues and Tom Morgan

Truck terrorist Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel was a 31-year-old French-Tunisian delivery driver known to police who drove a 19-tonne white Renault lorry into crowds gathered for Bastille Day celebrations in the French Riviera city of Nice, killing 84 people.

The perpetrator of Nice's worst ever terror attack was reportedly a married father of three who neighbours described as a "loner" with a George Clooney haircut.


According to several French reports, Bouhel was born in Tunisia in 1985 and had a French residency permit.

Jaber, the brother of 31-year-old Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel. Photo: AFP PHOTO / FETHI BELAIDFETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images
Jaber, the brother of 31-year-old Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel. Photo: AFP PHOTO / FETHI BELAIDFETHI BELAID/AFP/Getty Images

Tunisian security sources said Lahouaiej Bouhlel was from the Tunisian town of Msaken, which is close to the seaside city of Sousse where 38 people, including 30 Britons and three Irish holidaymakers, were gunned down by a terrorist in June last year.

French television station BFM TV reported that Lahou- aiej Bouhlel was a divorced father-of-three who had become depressed following the breakdown of his marriage.

Police raided his flat, where he reportedly lived alone, in the Abattoirs area of Nice yesterday.

His wife was reportedly taken into protective custody and was being questioned by police last night.

Neighbours have described Lahouaiej Bouhlel as a dep-ressed and sometimes agg- ressive man who was not particularly interested in religion and kept to himself.

They said he had been unhappy since he divorced his wife two years ago, and had suffered financial difficulties.

Neighbours said he was "depressed and unstable, even aggressive" of late. They put this down to his "marital and financial problems".

One told BFM TV that he was "more into women than religion".

"He didn't pray and liked girls and salsa," said the station's crime correspondent.

Neighbour Jasmine (40) said: "He was rude and a bit weird. We would hold the door open for him and he would just blank us. He kept himself to himself but would always rant about his wife. He had marital problems and would tell people in the local cafe. He scared my children.

"He was very smart with the same haircut as George Clooney."

Another neighbour, Sebastien, said he "didn't have the appearance of a religious person and was often in shorts, sometimes wearing 'security' shoes".

Yet another, Anan, said she found Lahouaiej Bouhlel shifty and described him as "a good-looking man who eyed up my two girls too much".

One resident said: "He was quiet and moody. I did not know whether he was a Muslim. I think he had a motorbike."

A woman living in the same block said: "I hardly knew him, but from what I could see he seemed very weird.


"He lived alone. He said very little to anyone and wasn't very polite. He wouldn't hold the door open for you."

Lahouaiej Bouhlel was known to the police for assault with a weapon, domestic violence, threats and robbery, but had no previous convictions for terrorism.

Investigating sources said his last appearance in a criminal court was as recently as March, and he had previous convictions for armed theft, conjugal violence and threatening behaviour.

Despite this, he had no known links with terrorism and had not been under surveillance.

According to BFM TV, he had also recently caused an accident after falling asleep at the wheel while working as a delivery driver, and was taken into custody.

Police are searching for any accomplices to the attack, which appears to have been premeditated.

They found a pistol, a larger gun and a number of fake weapons and grenades in his vehicle after the carnage.

It is believed he may have hired the lorry on Wednesday night and boarded it "in the hills of Nice" before driving down to the promenade, acc- ording to CCTV footage.

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