ISIS Claims Deadly Attack in Nice as Arrests Made

French authorities still trying to determine whether Tunisian driver acted alone or with accomplices, and whether his motives were connected to radical Islam.

A man apprehended by French police in relation to attack on Bastille Day that killed scores, in Nice, France, July 16, 2016.
Eric Gaillard, Reuters

The Islamic State terror group took responsibility on Saturday for the Bastille day attack that killed at least 84 people when a truck rammed into crowds in the Riviera city of Nice, its affiliated Amaq news agency said. Meanwhile, French police arrested three people in the city early on Saturday in connection with the attack, police sources said. 

According to AP, an Islamic State-run media outlet says the man who barreled his truck into a crowd in the French coastal city of Nice is a "soldier" of the group.

The First Moment of Truck Attack in Nice, France Youtube

The Aamaq news agency on Saturday cited a "security source" as saying "The person who carried out the operation in Nice, France, to run down people was one of the soldiers of Islamic State," the news agency Amaq, which supports Islamic State, said via its Telegram account.

Forensic officers stands near a truck that plowed through a crowd of revelers who'd gathered to watch the fireworks in the French resort city of Nice, France, Friday, July 15, 2016.
Claude Paris, AP

The attacker "carried out the operation in response to calls to target the citizens of coalition countries fighting the Islamic State," it said.

The statement did not name the attacker, and the language implied that he may have acted independently.

French authorities were still trying to determine whether the 31-year old Tunisian driver of the vehicle had acted alone or with accomplices, and whether his motives were connected to radical Islam. 

The arrests concerned the attacker's "close entourage", the sources said, and were made in two different areas of Nice. A Reuters reporter saw about 40 elite police raid a small apartment at Rue Miollis, north of the central station, where one individual was arrested. 

Meanwhile, AP reported that French security chiefs are meeting in Paris as Nice's seaside boulevard reopened to traffic.

Defense and intelligence leaders were gathering at the Elysee Palace, the official residence of the French president, for talks about the atrocity, the third mass casualty attack against France in 18 months, the news agency said.

Meanwhile the site of the massacre, Nice's famous Promenade des Anglais, was slowly coming back to life Saturday morning. A maskeshift memorial of bouquets, candles and messages had been set up near one end of the expansive avenue, AP said.

France is observing three days of national mourning in homage to the victims.