French police probe terrorist's past after truck kills 84 in Nice

Updated: 2016-07-15 23:48

By Chris Peterson in London and Angus McNeice in Nice(

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French police probe terrorist's past after truck kills 84 in Nice

People console one another outiside the hospital after the truck attack in Nice, France, July 15, 2016. [Angus Mcneice/China Daily]

French police and intelligence experts are probing the past of a Tunisian-born man who ploughed a rented 19-tonne truck into a crowd watching Bastille Day fireworks on the Nice seafront last night, French prosecutor Francois Molins said.

Police shot and killed 31-year-old Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, a Tunisian-born father of three as he zigzagged through the crowds on the fashionable Promenade des Anglais.

Molins said 84 people, including 10 children, had been killed, and 202 injured, 52 critically, with 25 of those in intensive care, Local hospitals said they had treated at least 50 children. Most were French nationals but a number of foreigners were among the casualties, including two Chinese nationals being treated in hospital.

Police found two automatic weapons, ammunition, magazines, a grenade as well as two Kalashnikov semi-automatic rifles and two US-made M16 rifles. They also found a mobile phone and identification papers.

Molins said Bouhlel’s ex-wife had been taken into custody this morning but gave no further details. He said it was not known if he had any accomplices, and no terror group had claimed responsibility.

"There is a lot of information on the mobile phone that we are going through. We are checking to see if he had any links with radicals," Molins said.

The truck, which had been rented, was seen weaving from side to side, deliberately mowing down people before the driver exchanged gunfire with police and was then shot dead, according to Molins.

The prosecutor said the man was known to the police, having been convicted of a petty crime in March and jailed for six months; but he was not a terror suspect and did not appear on any watch list.

His job was given as a chauffeur and delivery man.

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