The French authorities are now faced with an enormous security challenge: how do they prevent another Nice style atrocity?
Point of view
the suspect didn't use heavy guns or explosivesFrench Interior Minister
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said that the truck driver Mohamed Bouhlel appeared to have been radicalised very quickly, suggesting that it was impossible to apprehend him in time.
The Tunisian-born chauffeur driver was not a pious, educated man in the mould of Mohamed Atta, one of the hijackers behind the 9-11 attacks in the United States in 2001.
Instead neighbours and family describe him as a troubled man who lived apart from his wife and three children and drank alcohol, which is forbidden in Islam.
The far right National Front, which is growing in popularity and is particularly popular in southern France, have dismissed the authorities’ approach, saying the war on Islamic extremism has not even begun.
On Saturday Cazeneuve stated that it is the methodology which has changed in terror attacks that makes them so difficult to counter.
“The celebrations of 14th July were prepared in close co-operation with the city of Nice, just like we do with any other city of France. But this kind of hateful attack is so new, as the suspect didn’t use heavy guns or explosives, that it couldn’t be prevented,” Cazeneuve said on French TV.
Analysts point to a change in the profile of extremists: according to a recent Europol study, some 80 percent of Islamic State recruits have criminal records and some 20 percent were diagnosed with mental health issues.
And it’s this change in the profile of the new extremists that the authorities must now adapt to, some analysts say.
They believe the current approach, tackling hardline Islamist ideology by offering counter-arguments in schools and mosques, may now be outdated.