How the probe into the 2016 massacre in Nice proved the killer was a terrorist


On July 14th 2016, in the French Riviera city of Nice, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel ran a heavy truck into and over crowds celebrating Bastille Day, taking the lives of 86 people and injuring hundreds of others, before he was shot dead by police. The 31-year-old Tunisian had a history of mental problems and violence, raising the question of whether his act was solely that of a deranged individual. As the trial begins in Paris of eight people accused of helping him prepare the attack, Matthieu Suc details how the judicial investigation established beyond doubt that Lahouaiej-Bouhlel's hideous crime was that of a terrorist, long drawn to jihadism.

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The white 19-tonne truck jolted and stalled before coming to a halt in front of the Palais de la Méditerranée luxury hotel and casino on the seafront Promenade des Anglais in Nice. The truck’s radiator grill and bonnet were missing and its engine was overheating. The subsequent investigation files record that it had halted at precisely 10.35pm and 45 seconds on that July 14th evening in 2016, shortly after the end of a Bastille Day fireworks display that had attracted a large number of spectators along the seafront promenade.