Is Nice, France, Safe? The Bastille Day Attack Has Travelers Rattled
Update 1: According to the latest reports, at least 84 people were killed in the attack in Nice, France, and over 180 are injured. Of the wounded, François Hollande, the president of France, said on Friday there are 50 victims “in between life and death." After an emergency meeting of French security and defense officials, Prime Minister Manuel Valls said: "Terrorism is a threat that weighs heavily upon France and will continue to weigh for a long time. We are facing a war that terrorism has brought to us." Among the victims, who were celebrating the French holiday of Bastille day, were a number of tourists, including two Americans, Sean Copelend and his 11-year-old son, Brodie. To help victims of the Bastille Day attack, you can contribute to verified fundraisers or donate blood.
Update 2: Early Saturday morning, ISIS released a statement announcing that one of their "soldiers" had carried out the attack. CNN reports that the statement read, in part: "The person who carried out the run over in Nice, France, is one of the Islamic State soldiers and carried out the operation in response to calls to target nationals of the coalition which is fighting the Islamic State."
Earlier: On Thursday, a truck plowed through a crowd of people during a Bastille Day celebration in France, leaving dozens people dead and possibly even more more injured. Details about the incident are still trickling in, and while some suspect terrorism, the motive of the driver has not been confirmed. In the meantime, people in the area might like to know if Nice is safe, or if there's still a threat of violence in the city.
It's impossible to say. After all, the truck crash itself came without warning during a parade that many attendees no doubt believed to be safe. As of now, though, city authorities are advising people in the area to stay indoors. That doesn't mean there's still an active threat in the area, but nevertheless, it's probably best to heed this advice for the time being.
Facebook has activated its "Safety Check" feature, which allows users in violence-stricken areas to confirm that they are safe, for the Nice crash.
A lot is still unknown about the crash, including whether or not it was a terrorist attack. However, some French and American authorities are treating it as such: A French anti-terror unit is handling the investigation into the crash, according to CBS News, and President Obama condemned "what appears to be a horrific terrorist attack in Nice" in a statement released by the White House later on Thursday.
French authorities confirmed that guns and grenades were found in the truck after the crash, and a U.S. official told the Daily Beast that ISIS was listed as a "top suspect" in the incident. There are unconfirmed eyewitness reports that the driver fired into the crowd as he was driving the truck.
"This is the worst catastrophe our region has seen in modern history," said Christian Estrosi, president of the Nice regional council. "We now have to mobilise all of our services, all the psychologists, volunteers who are trained to help fellow human beings."
Obama said that American officials have offered to provide assistance needed to France, "our oldest ally," in dealing with and recovering from the incident.