French authorities have made eight new arrests in connection with the Bastille Day truck attack in Nice
that left 86 people dead, according to the Paris prosecutor’s office.
The suspects detained on Monday were French and Tunisian, the office said, and had links to the attacker, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, who ploughed a 19-tonne truck down the Promenade des Anglais and into a crowd that had gathered for a 14 July firework display.
All eight men were arrested in the south-eastern Alpes-Maritimes region, which includes Nice.
At least five people already face preliminary terrorism charges in the attack, and are accused of helping Lahouaiej-Bouhlel obtain a pistol and providing other support. It was not immediately clear what the men arrested this week are suspected of.
|The bullet-riddled lorry which Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel drove into a crowd in Nice on 14 July. Photograph: AP
Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack. French authorities say Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, a Tunisian with French residency, was inspired by the extremist group’s propaganda, but they say no evidence has been found that Isis orchestrated the attack.
France remains under a state of emergency after the Nice killings and Isis attacks on Paris last year. The interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, said on Tuesday that the threat to France was higher than ever. He said about 300 people had been arrested in investigations into extremist networks so far this year, according to his office.
Also on Tuesday, authorities detained two boys, 14 and 17, in an investigation into a hoax hostage alert at a Paris church, the prosecutor’s office said. The false alarm on Saturday prompted a big police deployment and activation of an app-based terrorism alert system. A 16-year-old detained on Monday remains in custody.
The government is seeking financial compensation from the perpetrators for wasting security services’ time and money, and scaring the public unnecessarilyThe Guardian