Their involvement had been speculated, but on Saturday morning it was confirmed: ISIS was behind the attack that left 84 killed and more wounded.

The Islamic State used their media outlet, Amaq Agency, to confirm the man responsible for the crime, 31-year-old Mohammad Lahoulaiej Bouhlel, was a “soldier” of the caliphate who was responding “to calls to target nationals of the coalition which is fighting the Islamic State.”

There was no prior evidence the Tunisian native, Bouhlel, had subscribed to radical ideologies. Although having serial encounters with French law enforcement–including incidents of road rage and episodes of violence–he was not listed on any terrorist watch by French officials. But a French interior minister describes Bouhlel as having been “radicalized rapidly” prior to the attack in Nice.

The waterfront of the French Riviera is  renowned for its beauty. Stretching endlessly southward towards the horizon are the blue waters of the Mediterranean. The coast bends to the east and the west, and, running alongside the beach, the Promenade de Anglais serves as the perfect boardwalk under the clear sky of a warm summer day. With outdoor bars and restaurants nearby, it makes for the perfect nightlife, too.

That, added with the celebration of Bastille Day, ensures a large turnout for the fireworks display that occurs every year. Bastille Day to the French is what the 4th of July is to America, a night for celebrating independence–in the French case, from monarchical rule–and freedom. Indeed, the night should have been a celebration of their joie de vivre, and yet as they slowly began to depart the Promenade at the conclusion of the fireworks the night’s horrors began to unfold.

French president Francois Hollande immediately extended France’s state of emergency an additional three months. It was originally set to end on July 26th–put in place after the Paris attacks in November of 2015–but now the increase will give prolonged additional powers to French law enforcement and anti-terrorist agencies across the country. Increased security patrols through city streets have left France with the mark of a militaristic state, but no other country in Europe has suffered more at the hands of the Islamic State than France.

Uncategorized