Landmarks across Abu Dhabi were lit up in France's national colours. Image Credit: WAM

NICE: A truck ploughed into a crowd in the French resort of Nice, killing at least 84 in what President Francois Hollande on Friday called a terrorist attack on revellers watching a Bastille Day fireworks display. 

Mohammad Bin Rashid condemns attack in Nice

The UAE on Friday condemned the truck attack that killed 84 revellers in the French resort of Nice.

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Rashid Al Maktoum, Vice-President and Prime Minister of the UAE and Ruler of Dubai said: The UAE today is part of the global front against terror, steadfast in people's desire to live in peace, stability, security and safety.

"I speak for all in the UAE, voicing our sympathy for, and solidarity with, the families of the victims of terror in the French city of Nice," Shaikh Mohammad tweeted.


Mohammad Bin Zayed:  Terror attack in Nice will not deter us from confronting terrorism and extremism

His Highness Shaikh Mohammad Bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Abu Dhabi Crown Prince and Deputy Supreme Commander of the UAE Armed Forces, said : Terror attack in Nice will not deter us from confronting terrorism and extremism and we will always be guided by the tolerant spirit of Islam and human values.

The criminal attack in Nice targeted us all, but we will prevail through our will, determination and collaboration. We stand in solidarity by the French people and the government in the face of the terrorist attack.

He offered his deepest condolences to families of the victims and prayers for those who were injured.

Abu Dhabi landmarks lit up in French colours

Landmarks across Abu Dhabi have been lit up in France's national colours in solidarity with France after the terrorist attack in the city of Nice.

The initiative reflects the UAE's unwavering stance of rejecting such terrorist acts, which are forbidden and criminalised by all religions and international statutes, laws and charters as they contravene all human values and principles. 

Paris prosecutor: 202 people wounded in Nice truck attack: 25 on life support, 52 in critical condition.

Around 50 in critical condition after Nice attack: Hollande

French President Francois Hollande said Friday that around 50 people were in a critical condition "between life and death" after a lorry ploughed into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice.

"As I speak 84 people are dead, and around 50 are in a critical condition between life and death," he said after visiting a hospital in the French Riviera city.

UN chief calls for stepping up efforts to fight terrorism after Nice attack

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on Friday condemned the Bastille Day attack in the French city of Nice, calling for intensified efforts to confront terrorism and violent extremism.

Ban "stands firmly behind the French government and people as they confront this threat and stresses the need to intensify regional and international efforts to combat terrorism and violent extremism," a UN statement said.


Evacuation in progress at Nice airport, reason unclear: witnesses. An Associated Press reporter says the alert at Nice airport has been lifted, with passengers who had been evacuated being allowed back into the terminal to pick up their bags. 

"Friday afternoon Nice airport was closed for a short time due to a security threat. Emirates flight EK077 from Dubai had landed shortly before and passengers were held at the gate and on the aircraft for a short time while the airport took precautionary measures. The airport re-opened at around 12.45. Due to the airport closure flight EK078 will experience a very short delay to departure,"  an Emirates airline spokesperson said.

Motorcyclist crushed trying to stop killer truck

A German journalist who witnessed the Nice attack said he saw a motorcyclist chase the killer truck and try to enter the cabin but fall and end up under the wheels.

"I stood on the balcony, right on the Promenade des Anglais, and saw how people celebrated there, and how suddenly a truck drove through the crowd," Richard Gutjahr, 42, who shot smartphone video footage of the bloody Bastille Day rampage, told AFP on Friday.

"Surprisingly, he drove very slowly, not fast, he drove slowly and he was chased by a motorcyclist," recounted Gutjahr by telephone.

"The motorcyclist attempted to overtake the truck and even tried to open the driver's door, but he fell and ended up under the wheels of the truck."

Gutjahr, a freelance journalist, said he also saw two police officers open fire on the truck.

"Then the driver stepped on the accelerator and the truck sped up, accelerated and drove in a zig-zag course into the crowd.

"In the next 15 to 20 seconds there were shots from several guns. I don't know who shot at whom."

After that, "the panicked crowd ran in all directions. Those who could save themselves ran into the hotels, or sought security in the hotel entrances," he said.


"Right afterwards I personally saw 12 dead bodies, and it was already clear there would be more."

Update: 3.58pm:

- The attacker has been named as Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel. He was not on the watch list of French intelligence services, but was known to the police in connection with common crimes such as theft and violence sources told Reuters.

Update: 3.34pm:

 - A German journalist who witnessed the Nice attack said he saw a motorcyclist chase the killer truck and try to enter the cabin but fall and end up under the wheels.

Update 2.50pm:

-The UAE Embassy to France has stated that UAE citizens in that country are safe, according to the latest report of the French police, WAM reported.

In a statement, the embassy said: "Due to the unfortunate events in the French city of Nice, the embassy calls on esteemed citizens to take caution and not to leave their residences unless necessary."

To avoid any risk across France, they should stay at their residences despite the fact that the police warning is confined to the city of Nice, it added.

The embassy also urged citizens to cooperate fully with the French security authorities and follow the required instructions. It called on Emiratis to register with the 'twajudi service' and communicate with the embassy in case of emergency through: 0144340200 or mobile: 0033642697327.

Update 2.38pm:

- French President Francois Hollande has arrived in Nice.

Update 1.37pm:

- London Mayor Sadiq Khan said Friday he was reassessing security levels in the British capital, and offered his sympathies to the people of Nice.

Update 1.27pm:

- "Emirates can confirm all of its staff in the region and cabin crew due to operate today's flight have been contacted and are all safe," an Emirates spokesman said.

"Flights EK077 from Dubai to Nice and EK078 Nice to Dubai are currently operating to schedule. The safety and security of our staff and passengers is of the utmost importance."

Update 1.22pm:

- Leading Muslim clerics joined Gulf Arab leaders in condemning the attack.

Egypt's Grand Mufti Shawki Allam condemned the assailant as an "extremist" who "follows in the footsteps of the devil".

"Islam never called for the spilling of blood," Allam said in a statement.

"People who commit such ugly crimes are corrupt of the earth, and follow in the footsteps of Satan... and are cursed in this life and in the hereafter."

- The six Gulf Arab states issued a joint statement saying that they "strongly" condemned the "terrorist" act in Nice.

"The Gulf Cooperation Council states stand in solidarity with the French republic following this cowardly criminal incident whose perpetrators have been stripped of all moral and human values," the bloc's secretary general, Abdul Lateef Al Zayani, said.

- Saudi Arabia issued a statement condemning the "heinous terrorist" act, adding that it stands in "solidarity" with France and will "cooperate with it in confronting terrorist acts in all their forms."

Update 1.10pm:

- France has declared three days of national mourning after the attack

- Al Azhar University responded by urging unity to rid the world of terrorism.

- The organisers of the Tour de France have announced that they have stepped up security for the event

Earlier report:

The driver was shot dead after barrelling the truck two kilometres through the festive crowd on the palm-lined Promenade des Anglais, sending hundreds fleeing in terror and leaving the area strewn with bodies.

Authorities said they found identity papers belonging to a 31-year-old French-Tunisian citizen in the truck, as well as "guns" and "larger weapons".

The attack was of an "undeniable terrorist nature", a sombre Hollande said in a televised national address, confirming that "several children" were among the dead as families came together to celebrate France's national day.

The bloodshed came on Bastille Day, a celebration of everything France holds dear, its secular republic and the values of "Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite" (Freedom, Equality, Fraternity).

The attacker struck after a day of military pomp and ceremony in Paris - where armed forces, tanks and fighter jets swooped down the Champs Elysees avenue - and spectacular firework displays.

"France was struck on its national day ... the symbol of freedom," said Hollande.

A photograph showed the front of the truck riddled with bullet holes and badly damaged, with burst tyres. A lone doll lay abandoned on the promenade where families celebrated the holiday just hours earlier.

Robert Holloway, an AFP reporter who witnessed the white truck driving at speed into the crowd, described scenes of "absolute chaos".

"We saw people hit and bits of debris flying around. I had to protect my face from flying debris," he said.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve told reporters on the scene that the death toll stood at 80, with scores injured, including 18 in "critical condition".

UAE condemns attack

The UAE condemned the attack in the strongest possible terms, WAM reported on Friday.

In a statement, Shaikh Abdullah bin Zayed Al Nahyan, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, said the UAE confirms its full solidarity with the friendly Republic of France, and backs all procedures it takes to tackle these circumstances.

He added: "This heinous terrorist crime makes it imperative for all to work decisively and without hesitation to counter the terrorism in all its forms and manifestations."

Shaikh Abdullah offered his sincere condolences to the government and people of France, as well as the families of the victims, and wished the injured a speedy recovery.

Third attack

The attack is the third major strike against France in less than 18 months and prosecutors said anti-terrorist investigators would handle the probe.

It comes eight months after Daesh attacks on Paris nightspots left 130 people dead, dealing a hard blow to tourism in one of the world's top destinations.

US President Barack Obama condemned "what appears to be a horrific terrorist attack", although no group had yet claimed responsibility.

Hollande announced he would extend France's state of emergency for three months in the wake of this latest attack and "step up" the government's action against jihadists in Syria and Iraq.

He also called up army reservists to bolster the country's security services that are stretched to the limit.

France has been under a state of emergency ever since the November 13 Paris carnage, which came after 17 were killed in another attack in January at various sites including the offices of the Charlie Hebdo magazine and a Jewish supermarket.

Daesh has repeatedly singled out France as a prime target for its military actions against the group in Iraq and Syria, and hundreds of militants have left France to go and fight in its ranks.

'People were tripping over'

The Mediterranean city of Nice, with its pebble beaches and clear blue water, has been a magnet for sun-seekers and the jet-set since the 19th century.

A concert by popstar Rihanna due Friday was cancelled in the wake of the attack, as well as the Nice Jazz festival.

An Australian caught up in the chaos, Emily Watkins, told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation that while she saw the truck she did not realise what had happened.

"There was a lot of screams coming from ahead of us where the truck was," she said.

"People were tripping over and trying to get into hotel lobbies and restaurants or car parks or anywhere they could to get away from the street."

The Promenade des Anglais was sealed off, crawling with police and ambulances as authorities from the local Alpes-Maritimes prefecture urged residents to stay indoors.

Over the past week, France had been breathing a sigh of relief after successfully hosting the month-long Euro 2016 football championship, which passed off without incident despite fears of attacks.

The tournament brought an all-too-brief burst of joy to a gloomy France, bogged down after the two attacks in 2015, violent anti-government protests, strikes and floods.

The attack sent shockwaves across the globe with China offering "condolences" and US Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump postponing the announcement of his pick for running mate because of the attack.

European Council President Donald Tusk said: "It's a sad day for France, for Europe, for all of us."

"The subjects of the attack were people celebrating liberty, equality and fraternity."

'There are people covered in blood'

One woman told France Info she and others had fled in terror: "The lorry came zig-zagging along the street. We ran into a hotel and hid in the toilets with lots of people." 

Another woman told the station she was sheltering in a restaurant on the promenade with some 200 other people, where things had calmed down about two hours after the incident.

Nice-Matin journalist Damien Allemand reported from the scene as events unfolded: "People are running. It's panic. He rode up onto the Prom and piled into the crowd ... There are people covered in blood. There must be many injured."