The mayor of Nice’s office has identified the driver in Thursday’s attack as Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, a 31-year-old Frenchman of Tunisian descent, NBC News reports. His identity card was found in the truck.
No terror group has yet claimed responsibility for the attack, which left 84 people dead. Fifty people were also critically injured and are currently “between life and death,” France’s president, Francois Hollande, said at a press conference.
Both al-Qaeda and the Islamic State have encouraged their followers to use whatever materials readily accessible to them to perpetrate attacks. Earlier this month, ISIS circulated a video telling aspiring militants to “fill your cars with gas” and drive through a crowd. In 2010, al Qaeda’s magazine, Inspire, encouraged adherents that “running over them with your cars and trucks” was a worthy pursuit.
“This is what authorities fear the most: a low-tech weapon than can be obtained by anyone and used at any time,” Shiraz Maher, a senior research fellow at the London-based International Centre for Study of Radicalization and Political Violence, told NBC News. “Anyone can prepare and carry out this kind of attack, you don’t need to take the risk of becoming part of a terror cell or traveling to Syria or anything like that.”
“There is no plot to be intercepted or plan to be thwarted,” he added. “These attackers are already behind enemy lines, as ISIS sees it.”