73 dead after truck crashes into crowd at Bastille Day celebration

A truck crashed into a crowd of people celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, France, on July 14, killing at least 73 and injuring at least 100, said CNN and UK Express, citing French television. “There were dead bodies everywhere,” a witness told ITV, a British television network.

Other media accounts reported 60 dead or more than 70 dead, but the death toll – which increased when a gunman alighted from the truck and started shooting – kept climbing.

CNN is reporting the occupants of the truck exchanged gunfire with police. It is not known if anyone else was shot. UK Express cited French TV channel iTele, saying that a gunman was “holed up in a nice restaurant downtown” but has been “neutralized” by police. Photos and videos posted on social media show bodies lying in the street and there were immediate reports of dozens injured.

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The large box truck drove into the crowd at the Promenade des Anglais, witnesses said. The former mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi, who is now a regional official, said there “appeared to be dozens of deaths,” said NBC News. In French, Estrosi Tweeted, according to NBC: “Dear Nice, the driver of a truck appears to have made dozens of deaths. Stay for the moment to your home. More info to come.” ITV reported that French officials were calling it a terrorist attack and that “there are unconfirmed reports that there are gunmen on the loose in the city.”

“All hell has broken loose in Nice,” a BBC reporter said.

Grenades were found in the attack, according to Le Figaro newspaper. Sebastien Humbert, a police official, told ITV.com, “A truck rammed into the crowd over a long distance, which explains this extremely heavy toll.” A man then emerged from the truck and started shooting, said ITV.

The French television channel is reporting that the gunman had been in the truck and ran on foot to a nearby restaurant called Le Buffalo, and an officer then shot him, UK Express said. CNN reported that people in the restaurant rushed outside with white tablecloths to cover the dead and that the driver had “escalated” the truck.

There was no immediate identification of the people or groups behind the attack, but ISIS created a hashtag applauding the attack that it was encouraging people to use, according to Site Intel Group, which monitors jihadists.

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