Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel has been named as the terrorist responsible for the attack in Nice France last Thursday that killed 84 and wounded more than 200. Bouhel drove a truck down a promenade packed with Bastille day revelers, shooting from the window of the vehicle while he zigzagged to hit as many people as possible.
The SITE Group, which monitors extremist activity, cited Amaq news agency, affiliated with the Islamic State (ISIS), on Saturday, stating the terror group took responsibility for the attack, saying it,“was carried out by one of the soldiers of the Islamic State, and the operation was done in response to calls to target nations of coalition states that are fighting the Islamic State.”
Bouhlel, a Muslim, was born in Tunisia but had French citizenship and live in Nice. He reportedly had a history of serious psychological problems and was known to police due to allegations of threats, violence and thefts over the past six years. He was given a suspended six-month prison sentence this year after being convicted of violence with a weapon.
Bernard Cazeneuve, France’s Interior Minister, said Bouhlel, “appears to have become radicalized very quickly”.
“This is a new type of attack,” Cazeneuve said. “We are now confronted with individuals that are sensitive to the message of ISIS and are committed to extremely violent actions without necessarily being trained by them.”
Bouhel was reportedly radicalized in a mosque he began attending in April. Police checked his telephone records and noted that Bouhlel spoke with individuals they believed were ssociated with radical Islamic organizations.
French police have arrested five people in connection with the attack, including Bouhlel’s wife. Police also stated that Bouhlel transferred large sums of money to relatives in Tunisia.