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Friday, July 15, 2016

shattered peace at Nice ~ truck plough into crowd on Bastille day - 70 feared dead !!

Nice is the fifth most populous city  in France and the capital of the Alpes Maritimes département.  Located in the Côte d'Azur area on the south east coast of France on the Mediterranean Sea, Nice is about 13 kilometres (8 miles) from the principality of Monaco, and its airport is a gateway to the principality as well. The city is called Nice la Belle  meaning Nice the Beautiful, is  the title of the unofficial anthem of Nice, written by Menica Rondelly in 1912. .. ..  and Nice is in news across globe for wrong reasons !

14th July is - Bastille Day, the French National Day, celebrated every year. In France, it is formally called La fête nationale  commemorating the storming of the Bastille on 14 July 1789, an important event in Paris in the French Revolution, which had begun two days earlier. Celebrations are held throughout France.

The celebrations turned out to be disastrous as media reports put that at  least 70 people were killed and around 100 more were injured when an armed man drove a lorry at full speed into a crowd who had gathered to watch the Bastille Day fireworks display over the seafront in Nice on Thursday night (14th July). A police source told Le Monde that the driver was armed. Christian Estrosi, head of the local region, said there were explosives in the van. The date of the attack – France’s national day of celebration – was seen as symbolic coming after 130 people were killed in November’s coordinated Paris attacks on a stadium, bars and a rock gig at the Bataclan concert venue. Witnesses described scenes of terror and chaos on Nice’s famous beachfront Promenade des Anglais as the truck driver ran down dozens in the crowd that included families, children and babies in pushchairs. Moments earlier the crowd of locals and tourists had been gathered in a festive atmosphere to mark France’s 14 July bank holiday with the traditional fireworks display and concert.

Maryam Violet, an Iranian journalist visiting the Mediterranean city on holiday, told the Guardian that she saw the lorry running over people as they walked in the pedestrian area minutes after the fireworks had finished. “Everyone was completely shocked, I saw that suddenly people were fleeing and shouting,” she said. “People were shouting, ‘it’s a terrorist attack, it’s a terrorist attack’. It was clear that the driver was doing it deliberately,” she said. “I was walking for nearly a mile and that there were dead bodies over the place. I think over 30 dead bodies are on the ground and lots of people are injured. The dead bodies have been covered by blue sheets.

Police say a vehicle that struck crowds celebrating France’s National Day in the southern city of Nice contained ‘arms, loaded with grenades’.   French anti-terror police are investigating after the driver careered into the dense crowd and continued to drive into them for a distance of 2km. The French interior ministry confirmed that the driver was shot dead by police, who are investigating whether the lone driver had acted alone or had accomplices.  Nice regional president, Christian Estrosi, who was at the celebration when the carnage happened, said: “This is the worst Nice drama of history for more than 70 victims have already been reported.

The Gendarmerie Nationale tweeted: “Emergency operation in progress. Keep calm and avoid downtown area. Follow the official accounts to be informed.” Nice’s Promenade des Anglais is famed as a landmark and runs for some four miles. It was busy with revellers celebrating and watching fireworks.  BFM TV said President François Hollande was returning to Paris from Avignon to hold a crisis meeting at the interior ministry.

The initial details suggest a tactic which jihadi propaganda has suggested for several years, with a vehicle ploughing into a crowd. Inspire magazine, affiliated with al-Qaida, urged the tactic several years ago.  In UK, a  spokesman at No 10 said the new prime minister, Theresa May, was being kept up to date on events, adding: “Our thoughts are with all those affected by this terrible incident on what was a day of national celebration.”  The White House said that Barack Obama had been appraised of the situation was being kept updated. The US president condemned “what appears to be a horrific terrorist attack in Nice” and said he had directed his team to offer any assistance France may need in its investigation.

The French ambassador to the US, Gérard Araud, also tweeted: “Our democracies are besieged. Let’s stick more than ever to our values.  French President Francois Hollande has vowed to strengthen his country's role in the fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria after a deadly attack on Nice, which has not been claimed by any group. "Nothing will make us yield in our will to fight terrorism. We will further strengthen our actions in Iraq and in Syria. We will continue striking those who attack us on our own soil," he said, in reference to the Islamic State group. He also said he had called on reservists to boost the ranks of police and gendarmes. France's "operational reservists" include French citizens with or without military experience as well as former soldiers. Mr Hollande said they would in particular be used to boost "border controls".

Makes a sad reading !
Regards – S. Sampathkumar

15th July 2016 @ 07.45 am.

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