Tragédie Strikes the French Riviera

This photo taken on July 15, 2016 in Nice, shows a French flag at a make-shift memorial for victims of the deadly Bastille Day attack. A Tunisian-born man zigzagged a truck through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in the French city of Nice, killing at least 84 and injuring dozens of children. / AFP PHOTO / GIUSEPPE CACACE Last Thursday, Nice, France was the latest target of a horrific terrorist attack—the second deadliest in French history. As festive Bastille Day celebrations were underway in the beautiful seaside town in the French Riviera, a radical Islamist terrorist plowed a truck through the crowded Promenade des Anglais, killing 84 and severely injuring at least 202 others. Many of the killed and injured were children.

Following a grandiose fireworks display, tourists and revelers alike were strolling along the famous tourist attraction on their way back to their hotels for the night. At this time, the promenade was especially crowded. Knowing this would be the case, the terrorist, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel used his rented cargo truck to jump the curb, breaching security checkpoints, and accelerate through the crowd in a zig zag pattern. After a mile-long killing spree, the terrorist was killed in a shootout with police.

In the following days, ISIS claimed that Lahouaiej-Bouhlel was one of the group’s ‘soldiers’. Because his direct ties to the group are unclear, some officials suggest that he was a lone wolf terrorist, inspired by the group’s propaganda. In the week prior to the attack, the Tunisian native rented a truck, allegedly requesting the ‘heaviest one available.’ Further, he had been seen conducting surveillance days before his deadly rampage.

Sadly, acts of terror by Lone Wolves are increasing in frequency and being encouraged through social media. The Department of Homeland Security advises that they may include the following objectives to effect change via attacks that accomplish the following and ultimately incite terror:

  • Creating mass casualties
  • Generating spectacular images
  • Producing economic devastation
  • Attacking iconic symbols

In such tumultuous times, it is incredibly important to remain vigilant of our surroundings and to report any suspicious vehicles, belongings, activity, behavior, or people to local authorities.

French President François Hollande made poignant remarks following the attack. “France is in tears, it is hurting but it is strong and she will be stronger - always stronger than the fanatics who wish to hurt us.”