#PrayForNice: The World Mourns After Devastating Terrorist Attack

France is in mourning after a 19-tonne lorry tore through the Bastille Day celebrations

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by Lucy Vine |
Published on

Did you wake up this morning feeling like you no longer recognise the world we live in? On Thursday night France was left devastated by yet another terrorist attack on its citizens. 84 people are thought to have died – at least 10 of those children – after a lorry slammed through a crowd of people watching fireworks in Nice.

The 19-tonne lorry, thought to be driven by a French-Tunisian named locally as Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, swerved through the streets of Nice. It travelled 2km, mowing down crowds who were there to watch a firework display on the seafront, in honour of the country’s national holiday, Bastille Day.

The scene left behind has left shockwaves around the world, with images of bodies littering the streets. 84 people have been officially confirmed dead, with many more critically injured and reports claiming 54 children were admitted to hospital on Thursday night. Victim’s names and terrifying survivor stories continue to emerge, as Downing Street said that a ‘small number’ of British nationals have been injured.

It’s hard to know what to say in these moments, and #PrayForNice has been trending on Twitter, as thousands around the world struggled to find words of support for a country that has already suffered so much loss. The French President, Francois Hollande, addressed the nation at 3.45am, saying the attack was of ‘an undeniable terrorist nature’. He has extended the country’s state of emergency – in place since November’s Paris attacks, where 130 people died. It adds to last year’s death toll of 147 people, killed at the hands of terrorists. But French Prime Minister Manuel Valls seemed defiant, insisting the country would stand together, declaring, ‘We are facing a war that terrorism has started against us. The objective of the terrorists is to instil fear and panic. France will not allow itself to be destabilised.’

Here in the UK, Number 10 confirmed the threat level remains at ‘severe’ and said police are reviewing security. Our new Prime Minister, Theresa May – barely in the job a day – spoke movingly about ‘the horrifying attack’, adding that, ‘These were innocent victims enjoying a national celebration with their friends and families.’

As we wait to hear more news and the names of those lost, a final word from MP Jo Cox, who was brutally killed on 16 June for standing up to this kind of hate. Today is her funeral, and husband, Brendan Cox earlier tweeted: ‘Jo would ask us not to fight hate with hate but draw together to drain the swamp that extremism breeds in. Thinking of all victims of hatred today.’

#PrayForNice

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