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THE EVENING OF 14 July 2016 should have ended with a joyous display of fireworks to celebrate Bastille Day in the southern France seaside resort of Nice.

Instead, at 10.30pm, the happy cheers of the crowd gathered on the Promenade des Anglais turned to screams of terror as a truck drove through them, killing at least 84 people, several of them children allowed to stay up for the festivities.

The following liveblog chronicles how the horror unfolded that night and over the early hours of the following morning.

  • Local authorities are currently saying that 84 people died in the Bastille Day attack last night in Nice. 
  • Dozens more were injured – some very seriously – after being hit by the truck that sped down the mile-long road.
  • The driver was shot dead by police forces with images showing the vehicle’s windscreen riddled with bullet holes.
  • The driver of the truck accelerated as he drove into a large crowd (up to 1,500 people) which had been watching a fireworks display on Promenade des Anglais, eyewitnesses and investigators said
  • Local reports suggest guns and grenades were found in the truck. It is still not clear if there was a second person in the vehicle.
  • It is not yet known if there are any Irish casualties but the Embassy in Paris is taking phone calls from Irish citizens.
  • Anti-terrorist investigators have taken over the probe.

Good evening. Here’s what we know so far about tonight’s incident in Nice:

- At least 30 people are feared dead after a large truck ploughed into a crowd during Bastille Day celebrations in Nice at around this evening.
- Around 100 people are believed to have been injured.
- The mayor of Nice has called on people in the area to stay in their homes
- The motive behind the attack is not yet known. Police have initially called it a “terrorist” attack while another senior official called it a “criminal attack on a massive scale”

There is as yet no confirmation on the exact number of people who have been killed or injured in the attack.

First estimates have put the number at 30 but the one French journalist is now quoting the public’s prosecutor’s office as saying that closer to 60 people have died.

The Department of Foreign Affairs has said they have no specific details as yet about whether any Irish citizens have been caught up in the attack.

Anyone who may need to contact the French embassy here are the details:

PastedImage-445 Source: Facebook

Facebook has also activated its safety check procedure for people in the area to let friends and relatives know they are safe.

French President Francois Hollande is heading back to Paris early Friday for crisis talks after the “major criminal attack”.

“He is coming back to Paris and will go directly to Place Beauvau to the crisis cell,” the presidency said.

Hollande had been in the southern city of Avignon on a private visit.

The French Interior Ministry has said that the individual who drove the truck has been ‘neutralised’ and that an investigation will determine if he acted alone.

The White House has that President Barack Obama had been briefed on the attack in Nice that French authorities say has killed at least 60 people.

“The President has been apprised of the situation in Nice, France, and his national security team will update him, as appropriate,” said National Security Council spokesman Ned Price.

Witnesses described hearing gunfire following the incident with local authorities saying that driver of the truck was shot dead by police.

Images on social media have showed casualties lying in the street, some being tended by paramedics.

The incident comes as France remains badly shaken by November 2015 attacks which killed 130 people at the Bataclan concert hall in Paris and nightspots across the city.

PastedImage-62023 Source: Youtube/SkyNews

An eyewitness – a British holidaymaker – in Nice tells Sky News that she remarked to companion that fireworks sounded ‘like Beirut’.

She then realised it was gunfire, and not Bastille Day celebrations.

Donald Trump has cancelled tomorrow’s planned announcement of his running mate.

It’s now been confirmed by the Mayor of Nice that weapons were found on board the truck used in the attack. Both arms and grenades.

A number of eyewitnesses have been describing the chaotic scenes as the truck mowed down people along the promenade.

An AFP reporter has described having to shield his face from the flying debris as he watched the truck plough at ‘full-speed’ into a crowd.

“It was absolute chaos,” said the correspondent, who was among the crowd gathered to watch the fireworks for France’s national day on the beachfront Promenade des Anglais.

We saw people hit and bits of debris flying around I had to protect my face from flying debris.

The correspondent described the moment that the large white truck plunged into crowds of people who had come to the bustling Mediterranean beachfront to celebrate.

Terrified people screamed and scattered as it veered down the promenade, where adults and children were walking towards the famous Negresco Hotel.

France Truck Attack Source: Ciaran Fahey

Nice prosecutor Jean-Michel Pretre said the truck drove 2km through the crowd, mowing people down in what one local official has called a “major criminal attack”.

“For a big truck like that to get actually onto the promenade and then to go in a fairly straight line along there, looked to me like a very deliberate act,” the reporter said.

It was about 100 metres from me and I had a few seconds to get out of the way.

Other witnesses described hearing gunfire, although this was not immediately confirmed by the authorities.

Police could be seen surrounding the truck in the early hours of Friday, its windscreen riddled with bullet holes.

(Click here if you can’t watch video)

PastedImage-18392 Source: Youtube/France24English

Australian Emily Watkins said she was less than 50 metres away from the incident and saw the truck on the promenade but did not realise what was happening.

“There was a lot of confusion. I don’t actually remember seeing the truck moving,” she told the Australian Broadcasting Corporation.

There was a lot of screams coming from ahead of us where the truck was, and people just running towards us and without really knowing what was going on we turned and ran as well. As we were running away we could hear what I thought at the time were more flares or fireworks.

“People were tripping over and trying to get into hotel lobbies and restaurants or car parks or anywhere they could to get away from the street. “

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A couple of important updates in the past few minutes:

  • The French public prosecutor has confirmed that the investigation has been taken over by anti-terrorist investigators.
  • The Mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi has also now said that the driver of the truck fired at people as he drove through the crowd.

French officials are now firmly rejecting earlier rumours that there was a hostage element to the attack.

“There is no hostage-taking,” interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet told AFP, denying dozens of rumours following the incident.

An individual drove a truck into the crowd. He was killed by police. Investigations are currently under way to establish if the individual acted alone or if he had accomplices who might have fled.

Statement from Minister Charlie Flanagan on the events in Nice:

This evening’s terrible events in Nice have left me deeply shocked and saddened. I deplore the loss of life, and offer heartfelt condolences to the people of France from the people of Ireland.

This attack on people as they celebrated Bastille Day with friends and family on a fine summer’s evening is particularly horrendous, and my thoughts and sympathies are with the relatives of the dead and injured.

My department is monitoring the situation closely, and our Ambassador in France Geraldine Byrne Nason and her staff are seeking to establish whether any Irish citizens have been caught up in this evening’s tragic events. Our Embassy in Paris is on stand-by to offer assistance to any Irish people affected by these events and the staff of the Embassy are on duty and monitoring the situation closely.

Irish citizens in Nice who need to contact the Embassy can do so at 0144176700, and are advised to exercise caution and follow instructions of local authorities. Consular staff in my Department are also on hand to take calls from concerned families here in Ireland and they may be contacted at any time at 01 408 2000.

Tourists staying along the Promenade des Anglais cannot return to hotels and TheJournal.ie has learned that some Irish visitors are being put up tonight by local people.

They have opened up their homes to complete strangers at this time of crisis.

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The death toll keeps climbing with the president of the region now putting the number of people who have lost their lives at 77.

To recap, here’s what you need to know about the last few sad and tragic hours.

  • Local authorities are currently saying that 77 people have died in the Bastille Day attack.
  • Dozens are also injured after being hit by the truck that sped down the mile-long road.
  • The driver was shot dead by police forces with images showing the vehicle’s windscreen riddled with bullet holes.
  • The driver of the truck accelerated as he drove into a large crowd (up to 1,500 people) which had been watching a fireworks display on Promenade des Anglais, eyewitnesses and investigators said
  • Local reports suggest guns and grenades were found in the truck.
  • It is not yet known if there are any Irish casualties but the Embassy in Paris is taking phone calls from Irish citizens.
  • Anti-terrorist investigators have taken over the probe.

Emergency services continue to tend to victims in the area with many hotels being used as hospitals.

Le Figaro, the French publication, has now put the death toll at 80.

France Truck Attack Source: Christian Alminana

Initial reporting as of 10.45pm, 14 July 2016

‘DOZENS’ OF PEOPLE and have died and about 100 people have been injured after a truck ploughed into a crowd in Nice.

The crowd had been celebrating Bastille Day in the French riviera city with local officials describing it as ”a criminal attack on a massive scale”.

Mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi has tweeted that ‘dozens’ have been killed, urging people to ‘stay in their homes’

Speaking to BFMTV in France Sebastien Humbert, an official from the Alpes-Maritimes region has also confirmed “dozens of deaths, perhaps 30″. He also said that there are ”around a hundred injured”.

Humbert has also confirmed that the driver of the truck has been shot dead by police. Pictures of the truck show the windscreen covered with bullet holes that are believed to have been made by police firing.

The incident happened during a fireworks display, sparking panic among the crowd.

Police and ambulances went to the scene and authorities from the local Alpes-Maritimes prefecture urged residents to stay indoors.

An AFP reporter described seeing a white van driving at high speed onto the famed Promenade des Anglais as people were leaving after the annual Bastille Day celebration display.

“We saw people hit and bits of debris flying around,” he said.

One witness told Nice Matin newspaper:

We had just crossed the road, and there were lots of people. When we turned around we heard “boom boom boom” and saw a truck on the promenade, which was going past. My son was right next to it… The truck went by very fast, 45-50 kmh, I saw it travelling to the back [of the crowd], and I don’t know what happened after that.

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Rónán Duffy

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