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Albanian man accused of aiding Nice terror attack extradited to France

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By Mark Armstrong  with AFP
Albanian man accused of aiding Nice terror attack extradited to France
Copyright  AFP

An Albanian man accused of supplying weapons to a Tunisian terrorist who killed 86 people in Nice is back in France after extradition from Italy.

Endri Elezi is suspected of aiding Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, who rammed a truck into a crowd in the French coastal city on July 14, 2016. The incident became known as the Bastille Day attack.

Elezi, 28, was arrested on April 21 on a warrant from France in the southern Italian town of Sparanize, north of Naples.

Also known as "Gino," Elezi is accused of providing Bouhlel with an assault rifle, according to French judicial sources.

Bouhlel was shot dead by police at the wheel of the truck he drove through crowds on Nice’s waterfront, killing 86 and wounding more than 400 people.

The so-called Islamic State claimed responsibility for the Nice attack, although prosecutors said there was no evidence that Bouhlel had sworn allegiance to the extremist group.

The attack came less than a year after the deadly assaults in November 2015 that saw 130 people killed in bombings and shootings across Paris, including the victims at the Bataclan concert hall.

A court in Naples approved Elezi’s extradition to France late Thursday, the news agency AGI reported.

During the hearing, he denied the accusations, saying: “I have never sold or provided weapons and I don’t know any of the people involved.”

The Naples court did not immediately respond to requests for confirmation.