IS group claims Nice attacker as a 'soldier'

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility yesterday for the truck massacre in Nice, as France highlighted the "extreme difficulty" of preventing such attacks amid tough questions over security failures.

"The person who carried out the operation in Nice, France, to run down people was one of the soldiers of Islamic State", the news agency Amaq, which supports the militant Islamist group, said via its Telegram account.

Investigators said the so-called Cannes-Torcy cell was one of the most potentially unsafe they had ever dismantled.

The Nice attack is the third major strike against France in less than 18 months.

French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve on Saturday called on young citizens to become reservists and help boost security forces in the wake of the country's latest terror attack.

The identities of the victims testified to France's diverse society and to the worldwide appeal of the tony French Riviera.

Marine Le Pen, the far-right leader of the National Front party, called on Cazeneuve to step down.

Bouhlel was identified by fingerprints after his identification card was found in the truck, authorities said.

French police secure the area as the investigation continues at the scene near the heavy truck that ran into a crowd at high speed during the Bastille Day July 14 national holiday celebrations in Nice, France, July 15, 2016.

Authorities in France have detained five people for questioning, including the ex-wife of the suspect and four acquaintances or friends.

"Afterward, people will always say that we should have done things differently".

BBC reported that of the 84 dead, 10 were children. He told The Associated Press that his first instinct was to throw his 7-year-old son, Celion, out of harm's way, while his wife pushed their daughter, 12-year-old Noemi, to safety.

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"It was going pretty fast, I guess 60 or 70 kph, and people were screaming and trying to avoid it, and some jumped to the beach side, and it is not small sized, it's a big jump", Faran said.

"If we are at war, as the government tells us, then the currency of war is intelligence, learning from experience, analysing failures and victories", wrote Yann Marec in an editorial for the southern region's Midi Libre newspaper.

In Washington, the U.S. State Department and other sources confirmed that Sean Copeland, 51, and his son Brodie, 11, of Lakeway, Texas, were among the dead.

At Nice's Pasteur hospital, medical staff were treating large numbers of injured.

"Rest assured that we join you in your fight against terrorism", he said.

IS also claimed responsibility for the November 13 attacks which killed 130 people in Paris, while gunmen in January 2015 attacks on the Charlie Hebdo weekly and a Jewish supermarket were linked to both IS and al Qaeda. Those people may not show up on watch lists, having concealed their homicidal inclinations or having been recently radicalized through the internet or another source. I say it and I say it loud: "These two are killers", said Christelle Hespel, a Nice resident who accused both of overseeing negligent security.

"Despite all of that, this man's decisions... created the drama and horror we experienced". Still, the message was heard, prompting the security announcement later from Cazeneuve.

Speaking to reporters Saturday, Cazeneuve said that the truck "forced its way through by mounting the sidewalk" to dodge police cars that were blocking the way to the promenade. During Thursday's fireworks display, the attacker was able to drive a 19-ton truck through police controls and barrel 2 kilometres (1.2 miles) through the crowd, killing 84 people, before being shot death by police.

Eighty-four people were killed and 200 more wounded when Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel slammed his vehicle into a throng of fireworks spectactors on Nice's seaside boulevard.

"From 2002 to 2004, he had problems that caused a nervous breakdown".

The 31-year-old former delivery driver and chauffeur, the father of three children, has been described by neighbours as being a drinker.

At an apartment bloc in the Quartier des Abattoirs, on the outskirts of Nice, neighbors described the father of three as a volatile man, prone to drinking and womanizing, and in the process of divorcing his wife.

(Copyright © 2015. All Rights Reserved.)
 
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