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2520d ago / 1:22 AM UTC

'Now the Middle East Can Happen Anywhere': Egyptian Witness

An Egyptian man on vacation in Nice came face to face with the driver of the truck who plowed into the holiday crowd.

Nader El Shafei, a former banker from Cairo, recounted the terrifying moments in the lobby of the Hotel Mercure to freelance journalist Linda Hervieux. After the truck plowed into the crowd — "He smashed into a lot of people" — El Shafei walked in front of the vehicle and waved his arms at the driver.

"I was waving to the driver 'Stop, there's a girl under the truck.'

"I saw him pick up a phone, I thought, and at this point I still think it's an accident and then I see he pulls out a gun. It looked like a handgun, a Glock. He pulled it out and I understood something was wrong ... and then I see the police shooting him."

Everyone started running, he said. The cops were yelling at him to get out of the way.

"I couldn't run," he said. "I was just frozen."

He said that when he was on the promenade, the though of terrorism crossed his mind.

"Five minutes before this happened, I thought in this peaceful place somebody crazy could do something."

"I'm used to all of these actions in the Middle East but I was never this close to it. I said to my friends, 'Now we can’t go to Europe to escape the Middle East. Now the Middle East can happen anywhere."

2520d ago / 7:49 PM UTC

Obama Calls Suggestion of Test for U.S. Muslims 'Repugnant'

2520d ago / 7:08 PM UTC

Witness Who Recorded Rampage Describes Panic


Sylvain Benouaich, a 52-year-old maintenance worker, said he was sitting at a sports bar along a busy Nice promenade when a driver entered an area blocked off to vehicles.

The night of revelry quickly descended into chaos. 

"I look at the truck and I don't understand why he is inside of the zone, inside the place when nobody can drive," Benouaich said. "And I hear a lot of people cry and the noise, it's very important, you know, help, the people panic, big panic. They run to the left and ... to the right, nobody knows where to go."

He pulled out his cellphone and began to record what ended up being the last few seconds of the confrontation between police and the driver, later identified as 31-year-old Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel.

Benouaich described seeing police take two men into custody outside the truck near its rear-end as they confronted and killed Bouhlel. He doesn't know if the men were officially arrested or involved in the attack.

"In this video, you can see policemen shoot the terrorist and (make) an arrest," Benouaich said. "They stop two men near the truck and immediately take the men and ... put them in a police car."

2520d ago / 6:28 PM UTC

Truck Used in Deadly Attack Removed from Scene

2520d ago / 4:43 PM UTC

More Than 200 Wounded, Many on Life Support

Paris prosecutors updated the injury count and the conditions of victims during a news conference Friday afternoon. Here is the latest numbers:

202: Total people wounded.

52: The wounded still in critical condition.

25: The wounded who are also on life support.

84: Total people killed.

10: Those killed who were children/teenagers.

2520d ago / 3:46 PM UTC

Government Alert App Didn't Work During Nice Attack: Reports

An amber-alert-style app that is supposed to warn citizens of a major crisis failed to work during the Nice truck attack, it was reported.

The geolocation-based SAIP application was supposed to flash a red warning screen but Twitter users in Nice said the alert wasn’t received until three hours after the massacre began.

The company that developed the app was summoned to the French Interior Ministry in Paris on Friday, Le Figaro reported.

The system was designed after the November 2015 attacks in Paris and launch in June, two days before the start of the Euro 2016 soccer tournament.

Users who receive a red warning triangle must press their smartphone screen to cancel the warning, an action that triggers another page with incident-specific advice on how to remain safe, the newspaper said.

Twitter users complained that the delayed alert was an “incredible failure.”

“This app had one job, and it didn’t even do that,” wrote Nathan Lellouche, from Nice, who posted a screenshot of the app, taken after the attack, showing a green ‘all clear’ message.

2520d ago / 2:58 PM UTC

Truck Massacre Suspect Had 'Frightening' Look: Neighbor

A woman who said she is the neighbor of Nice attack suspect described him Friday as a frightening man and "not normal."

Officials say Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, a 31-year-old Tunisian-born Frenchman, drove a truck into crowds celebrating Bastille Day, killing dozens of people.

A woman called Hanan, who told Reuters she lives in the building believed to be the one inhabited by Bouhlel, said he was odd.

"He looked at us weirdly, he wouldn't even open the door, when we'd arrive behind he'd slam the door shut. Frankly, not normal," she said.

She described him as "a handsome man, going gray, in his 30s ... I would say he was someone who was pleasing to women."

Hanan said he was "always alone."

She added: "He didn't have a frightening face, but ... a look, a look. He would stare at the children a lot."

Forensic police searched an apartment on the first floor in the building, which is in a relatively poor neighborhood to the east of downtown Nice.

2520d ago / 2:16 PM UTC

Security Alert in Truck Attacker's District: Reports

A controlled explosion was carried out on an abandoned package in the district where the Nice truck attack suspect lived, local media reported.

Bomb disposal experts were at the scene in the Route de Turin district in the east of the city, according to Le Figaro and Nice Matin.

A Volvo rental truck and a nearby apartment were searched and two nearby buildings were evacuated, Nice Matin said.

2520d ago / 2:06 PM UTC

Mother Killed in Attack Practiced 'Real Islam,' Son Says

Fatima Charrihi, one of the victims of the attack, was an amazing mom and a devoted Muslim, her tearful son told a French newspaper Friday.

In an interview with L’Express, the son, identified as Hamza, said his mom was the first victim of the truck attack. “There weren’t any other bodies in front of her," he said.

The mother of seven was with her nieces and nephews when the attack happened.

“She was an amazing mother,” Hamza said, speaking outside the local university that had been turned into a waiting area for victims’ families.  “She wore the veil, she practiced real Islam — not like those terrorists.”

2520d ago / 1:53 PM UTC

French President: 50 Victims 'Between Life and Death'

A total of 50 truck attack victims were critically injured and “between life and death,” France's president told reporters Friday after visiting some of the survivors at a hospital.

Francois Hollande praised medics who rushed to work “in the middle of the night to save lives” following the Bastille Day atrocity. He described police, firefighters and other public workers who responded as “the pride of France.”

The country was “facing a long battle,” Hollande warned, saying the attack was intended "to satisfy the cruelty of an individual, and maybe a group."

Addressing a country seeking answers, he said: “Why Nice? Because it is known all over the world, it is one of the most beautiful cities in the world. Why July 14? Because it is a celebration of liberty.”

However, he insisted that France must be strong.

“The world is watching us,” Hollande added.

2520d ago / 1:41 PM UTC

Marine Le Pen Calls for 'War' Against Fundamentalism

The outspoken leader of France's far-right National Front party said the country must declare "war against the scourge of Islamic fundamentalism."

In a statement following Thursday's deadly truck attack in Nice, Marine Le Pen called on France to implement the "necessary measures of prevention and suppression" of Muslim hardliners.

Le Pen has been pushing for tighter immigration laws in France and a crack down on Islamists in the wake of recent terror attacks.

The truck driver has been identified as Mohamed Lagouaiej Bouhlel. While French media reported that ID papers belonging to a French-Tunisian were found in the truck, no terror group has claimed responsibility for the rampage and a motive remains unclear.

Le Pen also expressed condolences for the victims, adding that the festive Bastille Day events were instead turned into "a horror day of great sorrow."

2520d ago / 1:14 PM UTC

False Alarm at Nice Airport

The Associated Press is reporting that passengers are being allowed back into Nice Airport.

An NBC News journalist who had just landed earlier said people were again being allowed through immigration after a 30-minute wait.

It wasn't immediately clear what caused the scare.