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France Truck Attack Victims

AP Photo / Rob Griffith

France Truck Attack Victims

A truck ran into a crowd of people in Nice, France, on Bastille Day, killing at least 84 people, according to multiple news sources. More than two hundred others are injured, with 50 reported to be in critical condition.

The driver of the truck accelerated into a large crowd of people who were attending a Bastille Day celebration, watching fireworks on the seaside boulevard the Promenade des Anglais.

The driver, a French citizen of Tunisian descent, was killed by police and it does not appear there was any gunfire from the truck, according to an official.

Subprefect Sebastien Humbert, of the Alpes-Maritimes region, described the incident as a "major criminal attack," according to AFP. The attack is being considered an act of terrorism, though no groups have yet claimed responsibility for it.

Maryam Violet, a witness, said she was walking along the beach and saw "a ton of people on the ground and on the sidewalk." "You could see someone with a bike or a wheelchair and someone with a bag full of flowers, innocent and normal people on the beach,” according to CNN.

French President Francois Hollande declared that the national state of emergency established eight months ago after a series of attacks would be extended for three months. Originally, it had been intended to expire July 26. France will observe three days of national mourning from Saturday through Monday.

Hollande praised the police, firefighters, and medical personnel who sprang into action after the attacks, calling them "the pride of France." He also noted, "Why Nice? Because it is a city that is known worldwide, one of the most beautiful cities on the planet. Why on the 14th of July? Because it is a celebration of freedom. It was, therefore, indeed to affect France that the individual committed this terrorist attack."

Facebook activated the Safety Check feature for people in and around the area of the attack.

Some Nice events were cancelled in the wake of the attacks, including the Nice Jazz Festival and an upcoming Rihanna concert. The Tour de France held a moment of silence for the victims before beginning on Friday morning. A tweet from the organization read, "Le coeur du Tour bat pour Nice." ("The heart of the Tour beats for Nice.")

Other messages of support came from around the world. Pope Francis tweeted, "I pray for the victims of the attack in Nice and their families. I ask God to convert the hearts of the violent blinded by hate." New British Prime Minister Theresa May offered a statement in which she mourned the loss of "innocent victims enjoying a national celebration with their friends and families."

U.S. President Barack Obama condemned the attack and offered his prayers, as well as praising "the extraordinary resilience and democratic values that have made France an inspiration to the entire world." European Council President Donald Tusk offered his statement: "It is a tragic paradox that the victims of the attack were people celebrating liberty, equality and fraternity. We will stand united with the families of victims, the French people and the government in the fight against violence and hatred."

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted, "Canadians are shocked by tonight's attack in Nice. Our sympathy is with the victims, and our solidarity with the French people." Indian President Pranab Mukherjee tweeted, "India stands shoulder to shoulder with the people and Government of France as it responds to this attack." Many other Twitter users offered thoughts and prayers with the hashtag #PrayForNice.

Some of the victims of the attack have been identified. Among them were two Americans as well as citizens of France, Germany, Russia, Armenia, Switzerland, and Morocco.

Sean Copeland, 51, and his son Brodie, 11, were visiting Nice from their home in Lakeway, Texas. Brodie played Little League baseball, with Sean coaching his team. A statement from the Hill Country Baseball Club said, "Nobody deserves this type of fate, especially not such a wonderful family. You are in our hearts, thoughts, and prayers. Rest in peace, Brodie and Sean, you will be remembered by many."

Fatima Charrihi was a mother of seven who was attending celebrations with her nieces and nephews. Her son spoke to L'Express and described her: "She was an amazing mother. She wore the veil, she practiced real Islam — not like those terrorists."

Viktoria Savchenko, 20, was a Russian citizen.

Linda Casanova, 50, was on vacation from her home in Switzerland.

Robert Marchand, 60, of Marcigny, France, was an industrial supervisor as well as president and coach at a local athletic club.

Francis Locatelli, 82, and Christiane Locatelli, 78, were killed along with their daughter Véronique Lion, 55, and grandson Michael Pellegrini, 28.

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