"The French authorities will be concerned about the possibility of follow-up attacks."by Pauline Neville-Jones / July 15, 2016 / Leave a comment
As I write at midday on 13th July, there is much that is not known publicly about the horrific attack in Nice last night just as the Bastille Day firework celebrations ended. What we do know is that at least 84 people have been killed. It has been reported that a further 188 people are receiving treatment in hospital after being injured in the attack, with 48 of them in intensive care.
Though no claim of authorship has been made by any organisation, it has all the hallmarks of a terrorist attack. The protection given by French security authorities to the Euro football games made them a hard target for terrorists. The celebration by holidaying families of French National Day on the other hand provided a target which was equally prominent but much softer. Instilling fear, dividing society and deterring tourism are all terrorist objectives.
The identity details in the cab of the lorry, assuming they belong to the driver, indicate a French/Tunisian dual national, with a criminal background, who obviously wanted his identity known. The area round Nice has been a prolific recruiting ground for jihadists going to Syria, as has Tunisia too. The longer the time before any claim on the attack is made, the more likely local organisation is rather than tight central direction by groups such as Islamic State. The method used—a vehicle driven into a crowd to cause death—is a first in Europe but is a technique familiar to Israelis. Variety of attack methods is a terrorist advantage.
Was this attack committed by a loner, or was a group involved? This is a vital question to which the security authorities must obtain answers. The truck driver appears to have…