Parisian prosecutor Francois Molins revealed on Thursday that the Nice attacker did not act alone. He cited evidence indicating that the five people detained were indeed his accomplices. At a press coference he said:
He envisaged and developed his criminal project several months before the actProsecutor specialising in terrorism
“It is particularly from telephone records that the 5 individuals brought to justice today were successively arrested and placed in custody. Their involvement appears to have been in the preparation which led to the act itself. The links between Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel and the detained individuals, were also apparent in the supply of arms as well as evidence collected from the lorry. “
The suspects include an Albanian couple,several Tunisian and Franco-Tunisian men none of whom were known to intelligence services before the attack.Contrary to earlier reports Molins also explained how the attack was carefully planned well in advance.He told the press:
“It appears at this stage of the investigation and in light of research and photographs that Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel seems to have envisaged and developed his criminal project several months before the act.”
Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel giving world the finger in lorry he used to murder 84 people on Bastille Day. Via
TF1</a> <a href="https://t.co/7JNZNlLCDj">pic.twitter.com/7JNZNlLCDj</a></p>— Peter Allen (peterallenparis) July 19, 2016
Phone records showed a large number of exchanges between the suspects and Bouhlel over the last year. Including a message Bouhlel received from one of the men a few days after the January 2015 Islamist attacks on the Charlie Hebdo newspaper and a Jewish deli saying:
“I am not Charlie … I am glad, they brought in Allah’s soldiers to finish the job.”
Despite ISIL claiming responsibility for the attack, definite links between Bouhlel, his accomplices and the terrorist organisation have yet to be confirmed.
As the French continue to mourn the 84 people who died,15 of the 300 injured remain in a critical condition.