As France tries to come to terms with the horror of Thursday night’s events in Nice which saw 84 people killed, including at least 10 children, investigators are still focusing on what pushed Mohamed Bouhlel to drive a 20-ton truck into crowds of Bastille Day revellers.
Police continue to search the 31-year-old Franco-Tunisian’s home in Nice for clues and French interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve has said evidence suggests that the killer had been ‘‘radicalised very quickly,’‘
But some of Bouchlel’s neighbours remain sceptical.
“All I know is that this man has nothing to do with Islamists, with Al Qaeda, Daesh (ISIL), and all of that – he has nothing to do with it. He’s someone who drinks, smokes, steals, eats, works. He is separated from his wife. He lives alone in this neighbourhood. He’s always be on a bicycle, he goes to the beach like everyone else. He smokes hashish, he smoked hash. He stole bicycles.”
In Tunisia, in Bouhlel’s hometown M’saken, relatives, including the 31-year-old’s brother, expressed profound shock verging on denial over the attack in Nice.
“Mohamed had a job, he’s been married to my cousin for nine years, he went to France to work as a driver, he has two daughters and a son. He never told me that he’d do such a thing, our family still can’t believe what’s happened,” Jaber Bouhlel said.
Bouhlel’s father has said his son underwent psychiatric treatment in the past but has insisted he showed no jihadist tendencies, only self-destructive ones.