Nice attacker searched Orlando massacre, jihadi images before rampage

by Alfonso Matthews Julio 19, 2016, 12:39
Nice attacker searched Orlando massacre, jihadi images before rampage

Mourners in Nice have built an anti-shrine on the site where the lorry killer was shot dead by police, moments after massacring 84 people.

The Paris prosecutor says that the truck driver who killed 84 people in Nice had expressed support for the Islamic State group and searched online for information about the Orlando attack on a gay nightclub.

In M'Saken, hometown of Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, friends and neighbors appeared reluctant to accept the idea that Bouhlel had been radicalized, "He was a normal boy, happy", neighbor, Hedi Garmoul told a Tunisia Live reporter, "For his father, he was a treasure, but everything changed when he went to France", continuing to describe how Bouhlel's appetite for alcohol and narcotics had escalated on his arrival in France.

People in Nice were aghast to discover Bouhlel likely didn't act as a lone-wolf attacker, as the French media initially suggested, but had been aided by others who are possibly linked with terrorist groups.

Emotions are running high in France after the third major attack in 18 months.

Cazeneuve described the bitter debate as "shameful".

The Prosecutor added that Lahouaiej-Bouhlel had several pictures of the massacre site on the mobile phone from as early as July 1 and he had visited the site several times.

But on Monday, The Associated Press quoted Lahouaiej Bouhlel's uncle, Sadok Bouhlel, as saying that about two weeks ago, his nephew had come under the influence of an Algerian member of the Islamic State in Nice, and that the Algerian had "found in Mohamed an easy prey".

Bouhlel, a heavy drinker with a history of spousal abuse against his wife (the couple was in the process of divorcing), was "very much the stereotype of a petty criminal", Delobel told CNN.

In Nice, many people were still desperately waiting for news of their loved ones.

A policeman watching the truck used for the attack after it was driven onto the sidewalk late Thursday, and plowed through a crowd of revelers who had gathered to watch the fireworks in the French resort city of Nice, southern France, Friday, July 15, 2016.

Molins did not provide more details about the video or the hostage in it, nor did he identify the witness.

Manuel Valls was booed by crowds at the ceremony.

A security services expert, who currently works outside France and did not want to give his name, said security officials had "lacked imagination".

Molins said 71 victims had been officially identified so far, with the authorities taking painstaking measures to avoid errors of identification seen during the Paris attacks last November.

Former president Nicolas Sarkozy has accused the government of complacency and called for the expulsion of foreign nationals with known links with radical Islam.

Fifty-nine people remain hospitalized after Thursday's attack, 29 of them in intensive care, Cazeneuve said Monday.


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