Two Americans Among Dozens Killed in France

UPDATE:  CBS News has identified the driver:

CBS News has confirmed the driver is 31-year-old Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, a French citizen born in Tunisia, according to law enforcement sources. He was known to police for petty crimes, reports CBS News correspondent Elizabeth Palmer. Police shot and killed the attacker.

 

(AP) – Two Americans are among the dead from France’s Bastille Day attack, a father and son from Austin.

State Department spokesman John Kirby says the pair was among those killed in Nice on Thursday when a large truck plowed through a crowd gathered for fireworks. At least 84 victims died in all.

He says the U.S. is providing assistance to those affected by the attack, while the embassy tries to account for all Americans in the Mediterranean city.

No one has claimed responsibility for the attack.

France was ravaged by its third attack in two years when a large white truck mowed through revelers gathered for Bastille Day fireworks in Nice, killing at least 84 people as it bore down on the crowd for more than a mile along the Riviera city’s famed seaside promenade.

The attack Thursday night on France’s national holiday rocked a nation still dealing with the aftermath of attacks in November in Paris that killed 130 and in January 2015 that killed 17.

Police killed the driver “apparently after an exchange of gunfire,” Eric Ciotti, the ranking politician of the Alpes-Maritime department that includes Nice, told BFM television.

The truck plowed into the crowd over a distance of two kilometers (about 1.2 miles), he said, and broadcast footage showed a scene of horror up and down the promenade, with broken bodies splayed out on the asphalt.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said the government is declaring three days of national mourning after the attack in Nice that left at least 84 people dead. Speaking after an emergency meeting, Valls said the national mourning would begin Saturday.

Two French police officials say identity papers found alongside the attacker behind a killing spree in southeastern Nice belonged to a 31-year-old Frenchman of Tunisian descent with previous misdemeanor convictions but no known link to extremist groups.

The officials, speaking on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly on the matter, said Friday that the papers were those of Nice resident. They cautioned that DNA and identity checks with acquaintances were pending to fully verify the identity.

 

President Barack Obama is condemning what he says “appears to be a horrific terrorist attack” in Nice, France.

Obama says, “Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and other loved ones of those killed.”

Noting that the attack occurred on Bastille Day, Obama is praising “the extraordinary resilience and democratic values that have made France an inspiration to the entire world.”

The White House released Obama’s statement a few hours after a truck drove onto the sidewalk and plowed through a crowd of revelers who’d gathered to watch fireworks late Thursday.

Obama is offering French officials “any assistance that they may need to investigate this attack and bring those responsible to justice.”

 

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