France mourns as inquiry seeks answers on Nice truck attack

Thousands of people gathered along the seaside promenade in Nice, France, on Monday to pay homage to the victims of a Bastille Day attack that left 84 people dead and hundreds injured when a man mowed down a crowd with his truck.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls was in Nice, joined by regional authorities as well as: Albert, the prince of Monaco; French national football team captain Hugo Lloris; and US Ambassador Jane Hartley.

Florists in Nice used white flowers to cover the 2-kilometre stretch where a truck driver ploughed through a crowd that had gathered to celebrate Bastille Day on Friday, French media reported.

There was a moment of silence at noon (1000 GMT), with a ceremony at the Monument du Centenaire statue.

Earlier Monday, French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said no link has yet been established between the man who carried out the truck attack and terrorist networks.

"This was an attack that was claimed by the Islamic State, it was an attack of a terrorist nature," Cazeneuve told RTL radio.

"Now, what needs to be established is what the links were [between] the person who carried out this ... attack and terrorist networks. And these links, for the moment, have not been established by the investigation."

The man, identified by prosecutors as Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, drove a heavy delivery truck down a 2-kilometre stretch along the main promenade of the southern city of Nice, mowing down people as he went.

The 31-year-old French resident, born in Tunisia, was not known to have been radicalized. Prosecutors said they were devoting part of their investigation to determining ties with extremist organizations, saying the attack corresponded exactly to calls broadcast by terrorist groups.

Of the 84 people killed, 10 were children and adolescents. Hundreds more were injured. It was the third large-scale attack France has seen in the last 19 months.

Former president Nicolas Sarkozy, said during the weekend that sufficient security measures across France had not been taken in wake of attacks in Paris in November and shootings at satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo in January 2015.

Cazeneuve dismissed those he said were seeking to create a "polemic" at a moment of national shock and mourning, referring especially to comments from National Front leader Marine Le Pen.

Before a defence council meeting at the Elysee Palace on Monday, Cazeneuve cited French President Francois Hollande, who had called on public officials to speak with "dignity."

Last update: Mon, 18/07/2016 - 12:21
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