SURPRISE, SURPRSIE: ISIS claims responsibility for attack in Nice
Isis took credit for the massacre in Nice with a claim of responsibility on a website linked to the jihadist group, as French police reportedly detained three more associates of the Tunisian man who took 84 lives at the wheel of a 19-tonne truck.
The Isis-linked media site Amaq said the Nice attack was committed by “one of the soldiers of the Islamic State”, citing what it said was a “security source”. It said he acted in “response to calls to target sponsors of the coalition that fights the Islamic State”.
France, reeling from its third mass-casualty attack since the start of last year, is a prominent member of that coalition and has vowed to intensify its campaign in response.
As the first of three days of national mourning dawned over a nation still struggling to comprehend the grotesque scene of slaughter on the Riviera, Nice’s hospitals battled to save dozens of victims in critical condition.
Police are searching phone and other records after raiding the home of the killer, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel. French media reported that three of his associates had been taken into custody, joining his ex-wife and one other person who were detained on Friday.
In the aftermath of the Bastille Day atrocity, president François Hollande labelled the attack an act of terror, referring to France’s involvement in bombing Isis in Syria as a likely motive. The country’s anti-terror prosecutor, François Molins, said on Friday evening that investigators had yet to find any link to a jihadi group, but he added that the attack “correspond[ed] exactly” to other terrorist acts.
But on Saturday, a direct connection between the attacker and the militant group had yet to be found.
Jean-Yves Le Drian, defence minister, said that in all likelihood Bouhlel had “personally integrate[d] calls to murder” formulated by Isis ideologues.
“Even though Daesh [the Isis acronym in Arabic] does not organise, Daesh instils this terrorist spirit,” Mr Le Drian said. “Hence the need to keep the [military] fight outside.”
Bernard Cazeneuve, interior minister, said the attack was novel because it did not involve explosives or heavy guns and the assailant “must have radicalised very quickly”.
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