What We Know About Nice

2 MINS READJul 14, 2016 | 21:58 GMT
Police officers stand near the bullet-riddled truck that was driven through a Bastille Day crowd in Nice, France, leaving scores dead and injured.

At least 73 people have been reported dead and over 100 injured following what appears to be a deliberate attack on a Bastille Day celebration in Nice, France, on July 14. A large truck rammed into a crowd of celebrants awaiting a fireworks display on a popular seaside promenade, traveling two kilometers (1.24 miles). An exchange of gunfire between occupants of the vehicle and police was reported but not confirmed. It is clear, however, that police fired multiple times on the truck to stop the driver, a normal security response to such an occurrence, and France's interior minister has confirmed that the truck's driver is dead. In its execution, the assault resembles attacks in Israel where militants have driven into crowds, causing casualties. Jihadist factions such as Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula have also promoted this tactic in their propaganda in the past.

Major terrorist attacks have rocked France over the past year and a half, including the January 2015 Charlie Hebdo shooting and the November 2015 attacks in Paris by an Islamic State franchise. In the wake of these incidents, and especially in preparation for major events such as the recent UEFA European Championship 2016, France has deployed large numbers of police and security forces. Just today, French President Francois Hollande announced an end to the state of emergency in the country, a prospect that is likely now off the table.

The enduring terror threat in France and in other major European cities will continue to drive nationalist and Euroskeptic campaigns to demand restrictions on borders and immigration. As Hollande's government tries to temper the rise of France's National Front party ahead of the country's 2017 elections, he will use the terrorist threat to argue for tighter security and intelligence integration within the European Union. Likewise, mainstream politicians in France and Germany are using the security threat that EU members share as a cause for deeper integration when an array of other factors are fragmenting the Continental bloc.

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