Nice Attack: Two More Arrests As Authorities Say Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel Was Radicalised Recently

Seven people have now been arrested.

17/07/2016 12:38
Laurent Cipriani/AP
A police officer surveys people gathering around a floral tribute for the victims killed during the deadly attack on Thursday

A man and a woman have been arrested in connection with the Nice truck attack, as authorities said the man who drove a heavy lorry through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day, killing 84, may have been recently radicalised.

The two were taken into custody on Sunday morning, bringing the total arrested to seven. France remains in shock over the attack and 85 people are still in hospital, 18 of them in a life-threatening condition.

Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, the 31-year-old Tunisian-born man who carried out the attack, was killed by police. He was reported to have become depressed and angry after his wife left him.

His family said he was not a wife-beater and diligent Muslim, drinking alcohol, eating pork and not attending mosques. His estranged wife’s cousin described him as “not a Muslim but a shit”.

But Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said it was possibly he had been quickly radicalised. The so-called Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack on Saturday.

Luca Bruno/AP
The Nice apartment of Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, photographed through a hole in the wall made by police

In a statement, the terror group said Bouhlel committed mass murder “in response to calls to target nationals of states that are part of the coalition fighting Islamic State”.

It did not provide any evidence it had any contact with Bouhlel before the attack.

Meanwhile, tourists have returned to the promenade in Nice as it reopened amid the news France is to call up thousands of reserve forces to boost security.

The Promenade des Anglais reopened around 36 hours after Thursday’s attack, The Press Association reports.

Holidaymakers walked along the waterside stretch on Saturday, which is lined with hotels and restaurants, while police officers kept watch.

Flowers, cards and messages of solidarity marked the spots where bodies had been left strewn on the road in the aftermath of the massacre.

Laurent Cipriani/AP
A jogger runs past flowers and candles placed in tribute to a victim of the attack

Candles burned late into the night as crowds gathered once again in memory of those killed and injured.

IS Bouhlel was “a soldier” acting on its behalf by committing the murders.

Bouhlel drove a 19-tonne hired lorry at speed into masses of people before he was shot dead by police.

Speaking outside the high-rise block of flats on Boulevard Henri Sappia, where the suspect had previously lived with his family, Samiq, 19, who did not want to give his surname, said: “I never heard him speak about extremism, I cannot believe that he was a member of Islamic State.”

He said people thought Bouhlel had psychological problems.

“He was a little bit crazy,” he said, but he added that he was shocked by what had happened.

The apartment on Route de Turin where Bouhlel was believed to be living before the attack was raided by police, and a view through the keyhole showed items including what appeared to be boxes of medication and a strip of tablets.

The driver’s father has said that Bouhlel had received psychiatric treatment in the past.

A neighbour and her young daughter said he lived a reclusive life, failing to respond when they said hello.

Nice terror attack

Interior minister Cazeneuve also announced 12,000 extra police reserves are being called up alongside the 120,000 police and soldiers already in place across the country.

According to reports, Bouhlel’s ex-wife was also being questioned.

The woman who was estranged from him and had been subject to his domestic violence, was taken into custody for her own protection, French media reported.

Many people are still awaiting news of their loved ones either injured in hospital or missing since the attack.

One man lost six members of his family, French media reported.

An eyewitness said she saw people hanging on to the lorry in a desperate bid to stop the killing spree.

Tita Siren, from Finland, was on holiday in the city and witnessed events from a hotel terrace.

She said: “I recognised that one or two men were trying to open the door of the driver. They were hanging on the door so trying to save other people’s lives.”

She added: “The whole width of the truck was full of people in front of it and it just drove over the people and they fell, like the driver was bowling.”

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