A large truck accelerated into a crowd of people in Nice, France on Thursday night as they celebrated Bastille Day. Early reports say that at least 60 people were killed and 100 more were injured in what officials are almost positive was a deliberate attack on France, according to Time.
Witnesses told CNN that the truck appeared to speed up as it plowed into people gathered on the Promenade des Anglais along the Mediterranean coast. “The driver of a truck appears to have killed dozens of people. Stay at home for the time being. More news to follow,” Tweeted local mayor Christian Estrosi.
The driver of the truck was shot dead by police after exchanging gunfire.
Bastille Day marks the first moments of the French Revolution in Paris in 1789, and is arguably the nation’s biggest holiday of the year. With crowds in nearly every city gathering to watch fireworks displays, the day made for a large and vulnerable crowd in the southern village of Nice.
This is the latest in shocking attacks that have dislodged feelings of security in France. According to Time, Thursday’s attack, if proven to be perpetrated by terrorists, will be the third terror attack on the country within the past 18 months. The first was the Charlie Hebdo mass shooting in January 2015. The second was the Paris attacks, in which 130 people were killed, on November 13, 2015.
French authorities claimed on Tuesday to have finally uncovered the true commander behind the Paris attacks, Reuters reported. Just hours before the truck plowed into the crowd, French President Francois Hollande told reporters in a Bastille Day interview that the national ongoing state of emergency, which had been in place since the Paris attacks, would not be extended past its expiration date in late July.
“We can’t extend the state of emergency indefinitely, it would make no sense. That would mean we’re no longer a republic with the rule of law applied in all circumstances,” said Hollande, according to Reuters.
US government officials have reported receiving constant threats about an Islamic State attack on France. However, details are still developing and officials cannot yet confirm if the tragedy was a terror attack.