Eight will be tried in France for the attack on a truck on July 14 in Nice

Seven men and a woman will stand trial on Monday for the July 14, 2016 bombing in Nice, when a gunman drove a heavy truck at high speed into a crowd gathered to watch fireworks on the beachfront in Nice. Riviera, killing 86 people and injuring more than 400. .

The attack – the second deadliest peacetime massacre in France – came eight months after the Paris attacks on bars, restaurants, the national stadium and the Bataclan concert hall, which killed 130 died and were claimed by the Islamic State.

The Nice attacker was shot dead by police and those on trial are accused of aiding him.

The attack remains a national trauma for France. Thousands of people had gathered on the Mediterranean city’s seafront boulevard for the July 14 fireworks display when a heavy truck was deliberately driven at high speed into the crowd, zigzagging and speeding towards people for 2 km along the esplanade, transforming a festival atmosphere into carnage.

The number of children killed and injured was higher than in any other European massacre in recent years. Fifteen were killed and many were seriously injured, bereaved or traumatized. Some died with their mother or relatives, the youngest being two years old. Among the dead were also pensioners and tourists – 33 were foreigners. A local Nice family lost six people in the attack. A third of those killed were Muslim.

The trial, which is taking place in the same special courtroom built for the Paris attacks, will last until December and will be complex. The driver of the truck, Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, 31, born in Tunisia, was shot dead by police as he began firing a semi-automatic weapon at officers from the cab of the truck.

Islamic State claimed responsibility but waited two days to do so, offering no evidence that the attacker, who had a history of domestic violence and petty crimes, had direct contact with the group.

Prosecutors allege that the eight people on trial, who could face sentences ranging from five years to life in prison if convicted, helped Lahouaiej-Bouhlel obtain weapons, rent the truck or inspect the road. Three of the defendants are said to be close friends of the attacker and are accused of having participated in a terrorist criminal association to help him obtain weapons and the truck. Five others are accused of helping indirectly through arms trafficking, but not terrorism.

Survivors and relatives of the victims insist that many questions remain over what they see as a lack of adequate security to protect Bastille celebrations that day. Many would like to see officials questioned about possible security vulnerabilities. But the trial will not address issues of security or organization of the event.

Anne Murris, who lost her 27-year-old daughter Camille in the attack, and heads an association of victims, the Memorial of the Angels, is one of the many bereaved and survivors who will speak in court about the devastation of that night.

Murris said she would tell her daughter’s story in court “to introduce her, and for those in the dock to hear not only our suffering, but the inhuman nature of what happened and the lives that were stolen. The lives of those who died were taken, but in turn a large part of my life was also stolen, as a mother whose family is now bereaved. It is important that as many people as possible people understand the great waste of this loss of life”.

She added: “There is a desire to give names and faces to all those people who have been killed, so that they are not just hidden behind a number – 86 dead – and never forgotten. .”

Eight will be tried in France for the attack on a truck on July 14 in Nice

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