Tragedy in Nice latest in string of terror attacks in France
Matt Jaworowski, Media General National Desk – (MEDIA GENERAL) – Thursday's terror attack is the latest in a string of events that have France on edge.
At least 84 people were killed and more than 100 were injured after a large truck reportedly drove through a large crowd of people while firing shots at bystanders. Initial reports say the suspect drove for more than a mile through the throng of people watching a fireworks show to celebrate Bastille Day.
The driver was shot and killed by police. No group has claimed responsibility for Thursday's attack, but French and American authorities are calling it a terror attack.
This is now the eighth terror attack in France since the beginning of 2015.
Jan. 7-9, 2015 – Charlie Hebdo
On Jan. 7, two gunmen attacked the headquarters of Charlie Hebdo, a satirical newspaper based in Paris. Twelve people were killed and 12 others were injured in the attack. The next day, one of the suspects shot and killed a police officer. On Jan. 9, suspects were tracked to two different locations, an industrial complex and a supermarket. Both incidents turned into hostage situations. Four people were killed at the supermarket, but police worked to save 15 hostages.
All three suspects, who had ties to Al-Qaeda and the Islamic State, were killed.
June 26, 2015 – Attack on French factory
Outside of an air products factory in Saint-Quentin-Fallavier, Yacine Sali, who had connections to the Islamic State, beheaded his boss and stuck his head on a fence railing along with two Jihadist flag banners. He then tried to blow up the factory by ramming his truck into several gas cylinders, but there was no explosion.
Sali was overpowered by firefighters responding to the scene. He committed suicide in prison that December.
Aug. 21, 2015 – Attack on Thalys train
A 25-year-old man armed with an assault rifle, a pistol and a box cutter was apprehended by a group of train passengers when the man exited a bathroom ready to shoot. Two Frenchmen, one Briton and four Americans, including an off-duty Airman and an Army Specialist, were able to wrestle the weapons away from the assailant.
Nov. 13-14, 2015 – Paris
To date, the deadliest terror attack in France, was Nov. 13, 2015, in Paris. In a coordinated plot, suicide bombers targeted a soccer match between the German and French national teams, shooters opened fire on four cafes and restaurants, and minutes later at a nearby theater. In total, 130 people were killed.
9:20 p.m.: Authorities believe the suicide bombers planned to have the first bomber to detonate his device inside the stadium, triggering a panicked exit from the crowd. The two others were to wait outside the stadium and detonate among the crowd. However, security stopped the first bomber after discovering his vest during a pat down. The man detonated his vest, killing one bystander. The second bomber detonated minutes later. The third vest detonated about 20 minutes later.
9:25 p.m.: Between 9:25 and 9:40 p.m. local time, four downtown Paris restaurants were targeted. Gunmen opened fire and, in one instance, detonated a suicide vest. Authorities report 39 people were killed in the four café attacks.
9:40 p.m.: About an hour into a concert featuring the American rock band Eagles of Death Metal, three gunmen stormed the Bataclan Theater and started firing into the crowd of 1,500 from the mezzanine. After 20 minutes of chaos, the attackers took approximately 100 concertgoers hostage as police gathered outside the venue. Shortly after midnight, police stormed the theater because they believed the assailants were killing the hostages. Two of the assailants detonated suicide vests. Another was shot and killed by police. In total, 89 people died in the theater.
On Nov. 18, Abdelhamid Abaaoud, the suspected mastermind of the attacks, was killed in a police raid in Saint-Denis, along with two accomplices. The Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Jan. 1, 2016 – Driver targets soldiers
On Jan. 1, 2016, a 29-year-old Frenchman of Tunisian descent, drove his car into a group of soldiers protecting a mosque in a suburb of Valence. The suspect was shot by soldiers but survived the incident. An investigation found the suspect in possession of jihadist propaganda material but he was not affiliated with any terror group. One of the soldiers was injured.
Jan. 7, 2016 – ISIS assailant storms police station
A jihadist wearing fake explosives stormed a police station in Paris. One police officer was injured before the suspect was fatally shot. Authorities found a piece of paper on the man's body proclaiming his Muslim faith, a drawing of the ISIS flag and a pledge of allegiance to the group's leader.
June 13, 2016 – Police officer, wife killed
A police officer and his wife, who worked at a local police station as a secretary, were killed by a man with ties to ISIS. The officer was stabbed trying to enter his house and his wife was killed inside. With the suspect still barricaded inside the home with the couple's 3-year-old son, police stormed the home and killed the suspect, 25-year-old Larossi Abballa, in a firefight. The 3-year-old was not harmed.
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