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France reels as Bastille Day attack leaves 84 dead in Nice

At least 84 people lost their lives after a truck plowed into pedestrians during Bastille Day celebrations in the popular French seaside city of Nice on Thursday.

French authorities said police shot and killed the driver, who drove the heavy, long-distance truck for about 2 kilometers into the mass of spectators leaving a fireworks display along the famed Promenade des Anglais seafront.

The man had opened fire on the crowd, Nice mayor Christian Estrosi said, and weapons and grenades were found inside the truck after he was killed. Several of the victims reportedly died of gunshot wounds.

“It’s the most terrible tragedy in our city’s history. Over 70 people died,” Estrosi wrote on Twitter.

“It’s a scene of horror,” local member of parliament Eric Ciotti told France Info, saying the truck “mowed down several hundred people” before being stopped by police.

Officials said the death toll had risen to 84 with dozens to hundreds of others wounded. Hours after the attack, dozens of bodies lay on the ground covered in white sheets

The Paris prosecutor’s office opened a terrorism investigation into the attack. The driver has not yet been identified and no group has claimed responsibility. There was no sign of any other attack, though residents of the city were advised to stay indoors.

French President Francois Hollande said the attack was clearly a “terrorist” act, the third on French soil in 18 months.

“France is horrified by what has happened, this monstrosity which is using a truck to deliberately kill dozens of people,” he said in an early morning televised address to the nation on July 15.

France “will always be stronger, I promise you, than the fanatics that want to strike it,” he said. “Nothing will make us yield in our will to fight terrorism. We will further strengthen our actions in Iraq and in Syria. We will continue striking those who attack us on our own soil,” he said, alluding to the Islamic State group.

He said he will convene a security cabinet meeting early on July 15.

President Barack Obama condemned what he said “appears to be a horrific terrorist attack” in Nice.

“Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and other loved-ones of those killed.”

Both presidential candidates also condemned the attacks, with Republican Donald Trump declaring “this is war” and Democrat Hillary Clinton vowing “we will not be intimidated.

Premier Li Keqiang said “we strongly condemn terrorism of all forms. We express our condolences to the victims and we will fight all kinds of terrorism.”

Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned what he called a mindless attack.

“I am appalled by the horrific attack in Nice. I strongly condemn such mindless acts of violence. My thoughts are with the families of deceased.

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