On Thursday, July 14, during Bastille Day celebrations in Nice, yet another terrorist attack— the third large-scale attack since Charlie Hebdo in January 2015— struck l'hexagone. Here's everything we know about the attacks in Nice so far.
A truck smashed into a crowd reveals enjoying the Bastille Day fireworks display in the southern, resort city of Nice, killing at least 84 and leaving some 200 injured. The driver, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, plowed the truck 1.3 miles through the crowd of spectators on Promenade des Anglais, littering the palm-lined street with bodies and sending hundreds more fleeing in terror. Bouhlel then exited the truck and opened fire on the crowdn before authorities shot him dead.
ISIS has claimed responsibility for the attacks carried out by Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel. An
Islamic State-run media outlet called Bouhlel a “soldier” of the Islamic State, who earlier called for jihadists in France to use cars or trucks as weapons.
The Tunisian-French national had a criminal history— assault with a weapon, domestic violence, threats and robbery— but was not a known terrorist risk.
Ultimately, the motivation behind the attacks is still unknown, even though the Islamic State has taken responsibility.
France’s BFMTV reports that Bouhlel was a recently divorced father of three who had become depressed following the breakdown of his marriage. Neighbors told reporters Bouhlel was not particularly a man of religion, but rather a man interested in girls and salsa dancing. Police, not ruling out terrorism, also suggest Bouhlel may have been motivated more by a desire to commit suicide than ISIS ideology.
How dangerous is traveling to France?
What you need to know:
-Nice airport was briefly put on alert but is back running normally. Most airlines are offering
passengers flying to Nice in the coming days the option to change flights. British Airways,
American and Delta are waiving fees for travelers flying to Nice. Both American and Delta are
also giving passengers the option to fly into a different European hub.
-Trains are running normally but travelers should expect heightened security.
-Some hotels and tour operators are waiving fees for cancellations in response to the attacks. Marriott, for example, just released a statement that fees will be waived “for the immediate future” for cancellations at properties in Nice, Cannes, Cap d’Ail, and Juan les Pins.
-In a bit of optimism, French President Francois Hollande said, though the country is facing “a struggle which will be long,” France will always be stronger than the fanatics that want to damage it.
What do we know 100 percent for sure?
Fuck terrorism. Now, moving on…
Is Nice safe?
Yes. As the second most visited city in France, and because of its high refugee population, Nice has long appeared on France’s terrorist watch. But that shouldn't deter you
from visiting. Though the death toll is appalling and terrifying, it represents a minuscule number of travelers. To put it in perspective, Americans are more likely to get killed by a toddler than a terrorist, Islamic or not.
Tom is a travel writer, part-time hitchhiker, and he’s currently trying to imitate Where in the World is Carmen Sandiego? but with more sunscreen and jorts.