While no one has yet claimed responsibility, holiday revelers in Nice, France were targeted in a mass attack involving a tractor trailer running over pedestrians on a main street closed to traffic following a fireworks displace in honor of Bastille Day, a national holiday. Some estimates have as many as 77 dead and hundreds injured. All indications are that the driver of the truck intentionally struck as many people as possible and some reports state that the driver also shot into the crowd before being shot and killed by police. Other reports indicate that the trailer was filled with explosives and grenades. If this does prove to be another Islamic terror attack, it again shows that France and other secular nations with guarantees of freedom of and from religion are the antithesis to what religious fundamentalists want (including, Christian fundamentalist in America) . Here are some excerpts from the Washington Post:A truck rammed into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in the French Riviera city of Nice on Thursday night, killing at least 70 people in an apparent terrorist attack as the driver also opened fire on revelers, French officials said.
The truck struck the crowd on the Promenade des Anglais, a seaside walk in the center of the city in southern France, authorities said. More than 50 people were reported injured. The driver fired on the crowd before being shot to death by police, officials said.
Christian Estrosi, a former mayor of Nice and currently president of the Regional Council of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur, put the death toll at 75. He said in one of a series of Twitter messages that the truck was carrying arms and explosives when it struck the crowd at about 10:30 p.m. local time.
Estrosi told BFM TV that “the driver fired on the crowd, according to the police who killed him.” He added that the driver’s behavior appeared to be “completely premeditated.”
There was no immediate information on the identity of the driver or what motivated his action.
Local authorities were treating the incident as a terrorist attack and urging people to stay home, the French television channel BFM TV reported. It occurred as a large crowd was watching a fireworks display celebrating the French national holiday.
In Washington, President Obama released a statement Thursday night condemning “what appears to be a horrific terrorist attack in Nice, France.” He said he has directed his team to get in touch with French officials to assist with the investigation into the attack.
"We stand in solidarity and partnership with France, our oldest ally, as they respond to and recover from this attack,” the statement said.
CNN quoted an American witness as saying he saw one person in the large white truck and heard gunfire, although it was not clear whether it came from the driver or was being fired at the vehicle. The witness said the driver accelerated as he was mowing people down.
If this turns out to be a religious extremist attack by a lone wolf or otherwise underscores my belief that taken as a whole, religion is a a toxic force in the world that is best eliminated.