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France Calls Up Reserves, Boosts Security Measures in Wake of Nice Attack

by Cassandra Vinograd /  / Updated 
FRANCE-DEFENCE-FEATURE
Young future Gendarmes reservists attend a training session at the National Training Centre for Gendarmerie Forces in Saint Astier, western France, on July 15, 2016.Georges Gobet / AFP/Getty Images

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France will call up 12,000 police reservists and boost security measures across the country in the wake of the Nice attack, the interior minister announced Saturday.

At least 84 people were killed and over 200 wounded when a truck driver careened down the coastal city's crowded promenade Thursday night during Bastille Day celebrations.

The French government has drawn criticism in the aftermath of the tragedy for failing to thwart yet another mass attack in a nation still reeling from the deadly Paris terror siege and Charlie Hebdo bloodbath.

Related: Grief Turns to Anger Following Nice Attack

In the hours after the attack, French President Francois Hollande extended the state of emergency he implemented in November and called up thousands of reservists — moves that many in Nice said was too little, too late.

Regional council president Christian Estrosi wrote an open letter in the Nice Matin newspaper on Saturday, calling France's current leadership "incapable" of properly addressing security threats.

The Nice attacker — a 31-year-old Tunisian named Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel — wasn’t known to intelligence services.

However, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Saturday that Bouhlel "appears to have become radicalized very quickly."

Five people were also arrested in connection with the rampage, French prosecutors said Saturday.

Cazeneuve gave a news conference announcing that more reservists would be called up to address the threat of terror. He said security measures would be stepped up nationwide and urged all willing French patriots to consider joining the reserves. Volunteers must be older than 16 and physically fit, according to the French government. Reservist contracts last between one and five years, and during that time they could be called to serve for a maximum of two months each year, but in exceptional circumstances, service time can be extended up to seven months.

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