The Vatican has condemned a terrorist attack in Nice that has left at least 84 people dead.
A lorry rammed into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day on the Promenade des Anglais last night.
Fr Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, said: “We have followed during the night, with the greatest concern, the terrible news which has come from Nice.
“We want to make known, on the part of Pope Francis and ourselves, our sharing and solidarity in the suffering of the victims and all the French people, in what was supposed to be a great day of celebration.
“We condemn in an absolute manner every manifestation of homicidal folly, hatred, terrorism, and attacks against peace,” Fr Lombardi said.
The driver of the lorry, who was known to authorities, was shot dead by police. French president François Hollande said the attack was of a “terrorist nature” but no group has claimed responsibility for it yet.
“France was struck on the day of its national holiday, July 14, the symbol of liberty,” President Hollande said on national television, denouncing “this monstrosity” — a truck bearing down on citizens “with the intention of killing, smashing and massacring … an absolute violence”.
“All of France is under the threat of Islamic terrorists,” said Hollande.
The truck drove for two kilometres along the promenade. “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 neutralise this terrorist. I won’t forget the look of this policewoman who intercepted the killer.”
Flags have been lowered to half-staff in Nice and in Paris, and Hollande has extended the state of emergency imposed after the November bloodshed another three months.