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Everything we know so far about the Bastille Day truck attack in Nice, France

At least 84 people are dead after a man driving a large truck plowed through a crowd of revelers celebrating Bastille Day in the seaside French city.

by VICE News
Jul 15 2016, 12:35pm

Photo by Eric Gaillard/Reuters

At least 84 people are dead after a man driving a large truck plowed through a crowd of revelers celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France, on Thursday. Details about the apparent attack in the seaside city of 350,000 in southeastern France, about 20 miles from the Italian border, are still emerging, but here's what we know so far.

- The attack began at around 10:30pm local time when a white refrigerator truck sped down the city's waterfront Promenade des Anglais, zig-zagging through a large crowd that had gathered to watch a fireworks display and celebrate Bastille Day, a national holiday in France. The truck continued driving and hitting people for more than two kilometers, or about one mile.

- Witnesses said the driver appeared to deliberately target as many bystanders as possible. The Associated Press quoted local journalist Damien Allemand as saying that shortly after the fireworks display ended, he saw "an enormous white truck" coming down the street "at a crazy speed." He said the driver was "turning the wheel to mow down the maximum number of people," and that he "saw bodies flying like bowling pins along its route."

- Prosecutor Molins confirmed that investigators had found a handgun in the cab of the truck, spent gun shells and unused bullets, fake assault rifles and a fake gun, and an inoperative grenade. Officers also retrieved a mobile phone, driver's license and a bank card, and were able to confirm the suspect's identity from his fingerprints.

- Molins also confirmed that no group had yet claimed the attack, but that the incident was in line with directives issued by terror groups to murder civilians. The investigation will focus, he said, on how the attacker was able to procure a gun and how he was able to rent the truck, and whether or not he received support from militant groups.

- In addition to the 84 killed, French President Francois Hollande said 50 people are in intensive care, "between life and death." He also noted that the victims were "from all continents." Speaking at a news conference on Friday, Paris prosecutor François Molins said that 10 children and teenagers were among the 84 who died in the attack. He said that 202 people were injured, and that the death toll could still rise.

Related: After the attack, a deathly silence in the streets of Nice

- Police shot and killed the truck's driver. He has been identified as 31-year-old Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel. Contrary to earlier reports, he is not French-Tunisian, but a Tunisian who was in France on a residency permit. According to France's BFM-TV, he was known to police for a string of petty offenses, including theft, acts of violence involving weapons, and domestic violence. He was going through a divorce. In January, he was given a suspended sentence after getting into a fight. One of his neighbors told BFM-TV that he was not religious and had only received his truck driver's license in the last year.

- There are reports that the truck driver opened fire on police before he was shot. Christian Estrosi, the president of the region that includes Nice, told France's BFM-TV that the truck was loaded with arms and grenades, but French authorities later said the weapons were fake and the grenade was "inactive." Estrosi said the incident appeared "completely premeditated." Authorities are still trying to determine whether or not he acted alone

- Hollande said in an address early Friday morning that "the terrorist character" of the attack in cannot be denied. Hours earlier, Hollande said the state of national emergency that was declared after the Paris terrorist attacks in November and was supposed to end on July 26 would be extended by three months. Additional soldiers are being deployed for security across the country.

- US President Barack Obama has condemned what he says "appears to be a horrific terrorist attack," but no group has claimed responsibility.

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