Attack on Nice: Five held by French police

Five people believed to be linked to the man who killed 84 people in Nice are in police custody, the Paris prosecutor’s office says.

Three arrests were made on Saturday and two on Friday, including the man’s estranged wife, Le Monde reported.

Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel drove a lorry into crowds marking Bastille Day on the Promenade des Anglais on Thursday before he was shot dead by police.

So-called Islamic State claimed one of its followers carried out the attack.

A news agency linked to the group, Amaq Agency, said: “He did the attack in response to calls to target the citizens of the coalition that is fighting the Islamic State.”

French President Francois Hollande was due to chair crisis talks on Saturday.

Mr Hollande, who says the attack was a terrorist act, has already moved to extend a state of emergency by three months.



Prosecutors said Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, a 31-year-old Tunisian, drove the lorry 2km (1.2 miles) along the promenade targeting people.

Of the 84 who died, 10 were children. Some 202 people were injured; 52 are critical, of whom 25 are on life support.

Stephanie Simpson, from the Lenval children’s hospital in Nice, said five children remained in critical condition, one was in a “very bad” condition, three were on artificial respiration, one had been stabilised and one eight-year-old child remained unidentified.

At the meeting with security chiefs, Mr Hollande was expected to review all options in response to the attack.

A state of emergency has been in place across France since the Paris attacks carried out by militants from the so-called Islamic State group. The 13 November attacks left 130 people dead.

President Hollande had proposed lifting the state of emergency on 26 July but reversed his decision after the Nice attack.

Some 30,000 people were on the Promenade des Anglais at the time of the attack, officials said.

Residents of Nice and foreign tourists were killed, among them four French citizens, three Algerians, a teacher and two schoolchildren from Germany, three Tunisians, two Swiss, two Americans, a Ukrainian, an Armenian and a Russian.

Mr Hollande said the attack was of “an undeniable terrorist nature”.

He warned that the battle against terrorism would be long, as France faced an enemy “that will continue to attack those people and those countries that count liberty as an essential value”.

There was a visible security presence in Nice on Saturday morning and soldiers were patrolling the front of the main train station Gare De Nice Ville.

Stallholder Romain Ribero said France was used to high security in the wake of last year’s Paris attacks.

“We feel safe. My children and my wife live here. We feel secure. I am already hurt after Paris, but we must go on,” said the 37-year-old, who lost two friends in the November shootings,

Lahouaiej-Bouhlel was known to the police as a petty criminal, but was “totally unknown to intelligence services… and was never flagged for signs of radicalisation,” the prosecutor added.

However, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said he was “in way or another” linked to radical Islam and Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said the attack bore the hallmarks of jihadist terrorism.

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