Nice airport reopened after brief evacuation

News

PARIS (AP/NBC News) — The Nice Airport closed briefly, and travelers were evacuated, before reopening.

An Associated Press reporter says the alert was lifted, with passengers who had been evacuated being allowed back into the terminal to pick up their bags.

The airport’s website showed flights leaving and landing as usual.

In a message posted to the site’s home page, the airport said: “Despite the dreadful events that occurred, access to the airport and Air traffic won’t be disrupted.”

The evacuation came less than a day after a deadly attack in Nice that left 84 people dead and more wounded.

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 said the man who carried out the truck attack in Nice was a Tunisian living legally in the city. The officials, who could not speak publicly about the investigation, confirmed that the ID found in the truck matched the dead attacker.

The suspect died in a shootout with police after mowing down dozens of people with a truck on Nice’s seaside Promenade des Anglais during national Bastille Day revelry Thursday.

The Paris prosecutor’s office, which is leading the investigation, declined to comment.

The French Interior Ministry has raised the death toll to 84 from the attack on people celebrating Bastille Day in the Riviera city of Nice.

The additional four deaths were apparently from the 18 people who were seriously injured when a truck slammed into the crowds.

NBC News has confirmed at least two of the people killed were Americans.

The Americans killed were Sean Copeland and his 11-year-old son Brodie. They were from Texas.

French President Francois Hollande says THE attack in Nice was of a “terrorist character.”

The truck drove onto a crowded sidewalk following a fireworks display along the city’s seafront.

He says investigators are trying to identify the truck’s driver, who was shot dead by police.

Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said extra medical-legal police were being sent to Nice to speed the identification process so bodies can be returned to families.

Christian Estrosi, the regional president in Nice, said some of the city’s 1,200 security cameras had pinpointed the moment the attacker boarded the truck, far from the seaside “in the hills of Nice” and could follow his path to the promenade. Estrosi called for the investigation to focus on any accomplices.

“Attacks aren’t prepared alone. Attacks are prepared with accomplices,” Estrosi said. “There is a chain of complicity. I expect it to be unveiled, discovered and kept up to date.”

Estrosi said more than 10 children were among the dead and he said France needed to think carefully about its next response to attacks, as previous responses were not enough to protect the people.

The children’s hospital in Nice says it has treated some 50 children and adolescents injured in the truck attack, including two who died during or after surgery.

Stephanie Simpson, the communications director for the Lenval foundation hospital, tells The Associated Press that injuries included fractures and head injuries and that the victims were aged 18 or under.

In a phone interview, she said: “Some are still life and death.”

She said she could not say exact number of children hospitalized or the ages of those who died.

The hospital is also offering psychological counselling to parents and siblings.

The hospital, equipped with one of France’s largest pediadiatric emergency units, also called the families of children it was already treating before the attack to ask them to pick up their children to free up rooms for the attack victims.

A lawmaker for the region that includes Nice said some people tried to escape the attack by going into the sea, giving new details of the horrifying last minutes of the attack.

“A person jumped onto the truck to try to stop it,” Eric Ciotti told Europe 1 radio. “It’s at that moment that the police were able to neutralize this terrorist.”

“I won’t forget the look of this policewoman who intercepted the killer.”

President Obama condemned the attack in a statement released by the White House. He said in part:

“We stand in solidarity and partnership with France, our oldest ally, as they respond to and recover from this attack. We know that the character of the French Republic will endure long after this devastating and tragic loss of life.”

Other European nations are responding in the wake of the Nice attack.

London Mayor Sadiq Khan says London will review its security procedures because of the attack.

The mayor said he wants to reassure all London residents that the Metropolitan Police will do “everything possible” to keep the British capital safe. He said the extremists’ “poisonous and twisted ideology” will be defeated in France, London and other parts of the world.

The terror threat in Britain is judged to be “severe,” meaning that an attack is highly likely.

British Prime Minister Theresa May has condemned the Nice attack and called for a “redoubling” of efforts to defeat violent extremists.

The new prime minister called the attack “horrifying”, saying, “We must redouble our efforts to defeat these brutal murderers who want to destroy our way of life.”

German police say they’re stepping up border checks on the French frontier following the attack in Nice.

Federal police said Thursday that they had increased checks at land borders and railway crossings with France, and at airports.

They would not give further details, but said the move was made in consultation with France.

Belgium’s prime minister says next week’s national holiday celebrations will go ahead, but with additional security measures.

Charles Michel spoke to journalists following a morning meeting of the Belgian’s government’s Security Council following the lethal truck attack in Nice.

Michel says Belgian authorities had already considered the possibility of a terrorist using a vehicle to attack a crowd. He says additional “appropriate measures,” which he did not specify, will now be taken to safeguard events scheduled to mark National Day on July 21.

OCAM, an independent body that assesses the risk of an extremist attack in Belgium, is maintaining the threat level at 3 on a 4-point scale, Michel said. For the level to be raised to the maximum, he says, there must be “concrete and precise” information about an imminent attack, which he said there was none at present.

On March 22, suicide bombers killed 32 victims in the Brussels Airport and subway. The Belgian capital was also home to many of the attackers who killed 130 people in Paris on Nov. 13.

Czech police say they are increasing security as a precaution following the truck attack in Nice.

Tomas Tuhy, the country’s top police officer says security has been boosted at Prague’s and other international airports, train stations and other places where sports and cultural events take place.

The Foreign Ministry says no Czechs are among the dead, but one Czech woman suffered a light injury in the attack.

Both of those attacks were claimed by the Islamic State group.

Spain says it is maintaining its national security alert at one step below maximum following the Nice attack but has stepped up police controls in transport centers such as airports, tourism sites and places where large numbers of people gather.

Interior Minister Jorge Fernandez Diaz said Spain and France had agreed to continue enforcing tighter police controls at border crossings that were introduced for the recent European football championship and the Tour de France.

Speaking after meeting with Spanish police officials and political party representatives, he said maximum alert level five would be applied only if security officials unanimously felt a terror attack was imminent.

Italy has told all local prefects and police chiefs to reassess security measures and reinforce all “sensitive targets” following the Nice attack.

Interior Minister Angelino Alfano said Friday that at a national level, Italy’s security alert remained at the second-highest level, just under that of being under actual attack.

Alfano recalled that the Islamic State group as far back as 2014 had urged sympathizers to employ “car jihad” to attack the West. He said that Italy had taken note, for example, and closed to traffic the main boulevard leading to the Vatican during Pope Francis’ Holy Year, precisely to limit risks to big gatherings of pedestrians.

At a press conference after convening his anti-terror agency chiefs, Alfano said the monitoring of Italy’s prisons in the hours after the Nice carnage showed no evidence of sympathy or support among Muslim inmates, unlike previous attacks.

French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said the government is declaring three days of national mourning after the attack. Speaking after an emergency meeting, Valls said the national mourning would begin Saturday.

He confirmed that a measure extending the country’s state of emergency for three more months would go before lawmakers next week.

Valls and French President Francois Hollande were going to Nice later Friday.

French Foreign Minister Jean-Marc Ayrault has cut short a visit to Mongolia to return to Paris because of the Nice attack.

A foreign ministry spokesman says Ayrault was in Mongolia for the Asia-Europe summit and is expected back late Friday.

Other French cities are responding to the attack, changing plans and increasing security.

The city of Marseille has canceled its fireworks show on Friday. The seaside city, not far from Nice and one of France’s largest, announced the cancellation after the attack.

France, hit with two waves of attacks last year that killed 147 people, has long known it is a top target for the Islamic State group.

In September 2014, then-spokesman Abu Mohammed al-Adnani referred to “the filthy French” in a statement telling Muslims within the country to attack them in any way they could, including “crush them with your car.”

The message was not limited to France. It addressed “disbelieving Americans or Europeans — especially the spiteful and filthy French — or an Australian or a Canadian.”

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

Latest Video on WDTN.com

Interactive Radar

More As Seen on 2 NEWS