Spero News

France: widening dragnet in wake of terrorist attack in Nice
Thursday, July 21, 2016
by Martin Barillas
The Tunisian Muslim terrorist who mowed down 84 people with his truck in the French Riviera city of Nice had conspired with at least five accomplices, said a Paris prosecutor today. "The investigation under way since the night of July 14 has progressed and not only confirmed the murderous premeditated nature of Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel's act but also established that he benefited from support and complicity," prosecutor Francois Molins told the media.
Molins said that five people are under investigation after being taken into custody in the wake of the terrifying attack, which happened while revelers watched fireworks displays in honor of Bastille Day. A Tunisian man, two Franco-Tunisian men, and an Albanian couple are in custoy. None of them were previously known to French intelligence services.
According to Molins, Bouhlel’s phone records showed a significant number of exchanges, calls, and text messages over the last 12 months. The people now in custody were among those contacted by Bouhlel. Just days after the fatal Muslim terrorist attacks in January 2015 against the headquarters of the Charlie Hebdo newspaper and a Jewish market, Bouhlel received a text from one of the male alleged accomplices who said, "I am not Charlie ... I am glad, they brought in Allah's soldiers to finish the job."
On January 11, the day after the above text message was sent, millions of Frenchmen marched in solidarity with the victims and survivors under the slogan "Je Suis Charlie" (I am Charlie). In Paris, the protest was led by French President Francois Hollande. 
The attack in Nice occurred at the peak of summer vacation on the sunny Riviera. The death toll inspired grief and fear throughout France, having come just eight months after Muslim terrorists killed 130 people in Paris. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack and has proclaimed Bouhlel as one of its militants. While an Islamic battle flag was found in his home, authorities claim that they have found nothing to link him directly to the Islamic State. The 31-year-old was shot to death by police when his delivery truck came to a halt along the Promenande des Anglais. In the cab of the truck, police found firearms and explosives.

Spero News writer Martin Barillas is a former US diplomat, who also worked as a democracy advocate and election observer in Latin America. His first novel 'Shaken Earth', is available at Amazon.

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