France is once again reeling from a major terror attack, this time staged on one of the most important days of the year, Bastille Day.
At least 84 people were killed, including many children, after a gunman drove a truck along the crowded pavement of the Promenade des Anglais as it was full with people celebrating France’s national day. A further 18 people remain in critical condition in hospital.
Nice-Matin newspaper named the gunman, who was shot dead by police, as Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, a Tunisian born French citizen. So far it appears to have been a lone terror attack.
It marks an expansion in the scope of terror attacks in France as it was the first time a major strike occurred outside the capital.
And it came just hours after President Hollande announced that a state of emergency put in place after the Paris attack last November would be lifted.
The residents of Nice are now absorbing the horror visited on their once quiet city.
“Yesterday, I heard the noise, I was far from imagining that. I rather thought it was a sort of fight. I live in old Nice and this morning, I am shocked,” one man, Fabrice Brissou, said.
One man newly arrived from the city from Serbia expressed his fears about moving to France. “Well, it doesn’t seem safe anymore in France. I came just a couple of months ago to start working here and Nice is not a big city and it does not attract that much attention. So if this can be a target, anywhere can be a target,” Milos Colic said.
French prime minister Manuel Valls has declared three days of mourning and the Tricolore flag is being flown at half mast across the country.