Islamic State said one of its fighters carried out the truck attack on a Bastille Day crowd that killed 84 people in the French city of Nice, even as French officials said he had no known links to militants.
Islamic State’s Amaq news agency described the man who plowed a 19-ton refrigerator truck through crowds watching a fireworks show on Thursday as a “soldier,” the Al Jazeera satellite news channel reported Saturday. Al Amaq cited an unidentified security source.
The attacker “carried out the operation in response to calls to target citizens of coalition countries fighting Islamic State,” the group said, without mentioning the assailant’s name. French authorities have identified him as Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, a 31-year-old Tunisian who resided in Nice.
The assailant was known to French law enforcement for petty theft and domestic violence but wasn’t on any list of people known to be radicalized, France’s chief anti-terror prosecutor said. Five people, including Bouhlel’s ex-wife, have been held, the I-TELE television station reported.