A gunman smashed a truck into a crowd of revellers celebrating Bastille Day in the French Riviera city of Nice, killing at least 84 people in what President Francois Hollande on Friday called a “terrorist” attack.
Police shot the driver dead after he drove the truck two kilometres (1.3 miles) through a crowd that had been enjoying a fireworks display on France’s July 14 national holiday.
The palm-lined Promenade des Anglais was left strewn with bodies as hundreds fled in terror.
Authorities said they found identity papers belonging to a 31-year-old French-Tunisian citizen in the 19-tonne truck, and that the driver had fired a gun several times before police shot him dead.
The man was known to police, authorities said.
Hollande said in a televised national address that the attack was of an “undeniable terrorist nature” and he confirmed that several children were among the dead. “France was struck on its national day … the symbol of freedom,” said Hollande.
Interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said 84 people were killed and scores injured, including 18 in “critical condition”.
Bastille Day is a celebration of everything France holds dear — its secular republic and the values of “Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite” (Freedom, Equality, Fraternity).