8 new suspects arrested over Bastille Day truck attack in Nice, France

By Andrew V. Pestano Follow @AVPLive9 Contact the Author   |  Sept. 20, 2016 at 7:30 AM
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NICE, France, Sept. 20 (UPI) -- French police have arrested eight new suspects in connection to the Bastille Day truck attack in the town of Nice that killed 86 people in July claimed by the Islamic State.

The prosecutor's office in Paris said the French and Tunisian suspects are linked to Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, the Tunisian Islamic State supporter who carried out the massacre by driving a truck into crowds of people who were celebrating Bastille Day.

Bouhlel, 31, who was born in Tunisia and moved to France in 2005 where he worked as a truck driver, was shot dead by police. The new suspects were detained on Monday in France's Alpes-Maritimes region.

Bouhlel was not known by French authorities for being suspected of Islamist extremism but he did have traffic offenses and assaults on his record. His relatives said he was contacted by an Algerian Islamic State member before being influenced by the militant Islamist group's propaganda videos.

French President Francois Hollande vowed to increase security measures after the attack.

"France is afflicted, but she is strong, and she will always be stronger than the fanatics who want to strike her today," Hollande said following the attack. "Nothing will lead us to give in to our will to fight against terrorism."

French authorities said they found no evidence the Islamic State helped orchestrate the assault other than by influencing Bouhlel. At least five other suspects face preliminary terrorism charges for providing support to Bouhlel, including a pistol.

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