PARIS — France’s national holiday turned bloody and violent Thursday night in the southern resort city of Nice, as a weapons-laden truck drove through crowds of Bastille Day revelers for more than a mile along a promenade.
French officials said 77 people were killed and at least 50 more wounded, as the death toll climbed throughout the night. The vehicle was a large white truck, similar to a tractor-trailer.
Although there was no immediate claim of responsibility, the Paris prosecutor’s office quickly implied it was a terrorist attack by opening an investigation for “murder, attempted murder in an organized group linked to a terrorist enterprise.”
Eyewitnesses in Nice told CNN that it wasn’t merely a truck crashing into a building, bad as that can be, but a driver intentionally going onto pavement and barreling through at 20 or 30 mph for more than a mile on promenades packed with residents and tourists gathered to watch Bastille Day fireworks on France’s Mediterranean coast.
Sebastian Humbert, prefect for the Alpes-Martime area, said: “A truck rammed into the crowd over a long distance, which explains this extremely heavy toll.”