Text message from Nice attack killer reveals he may not have been acting alone

Moments before he mowed down hundreds on the seafront, Mohamed Bouhlel was making demands for more weapons

Sally Guyoncourt
Sunday 17 July 2016 18:07 BST
Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel
Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel (Photoshot)

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Louise Thomas

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A final text message sent by the Bastille Day killer minutes before he carried out the deadly attack on Nice suggests he may not have been acting alone.

The message from Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, which was sent to an unidentified recipient at 10.27pm on Thursday evening, appears to be asking an accomplice to provide more weapons ahead of his assault.

“Bring more weapons” read the text from Bouhlel, according to Nice Matin.

An earlier text read: “It’s good. I have the equipment.”

Bouhlel, a French Tunisian, sent the message moments before he ploughed his lorry into crowds on the seafront Promenade des Anglaises killing 84 people, including 10 children.

His mobile phone, driving licence and bank card were found in the cab of the lorry by investigators after he had been shot dead by police marksmen.

According to French television channel BMF TV, the last text message was ambiguous but appeared to be a demand for more weapons and ended with a reference to ‘C’ although who or where that was remains unclear.

Surveillance camera footage of the area in Nice has revealed Bouhlel carried out a number of reconnaissance trips ahead of his attack.

He was spotted at the wheel of a hired lorry driving along the Promenade des Anglaises on the Tuesday and Wednesday before the Thursday massacre.

The promenade was packed with holidaymakers and locals enjoying the firework display to mark one of France’s biggest days of celebration.

Bouhlel drove his large white lorry onto the pedestrianised route and mowed down all in his way only halted when police shot and killed him.

More than 300 people were taken to hospital after the attacks, of those 85 remain in hospital and 18 people are in a life-threatening condition, according to the French health minister Marisol Touraine.

The 31-year-old delivery driver was not known to French intelligence services before the attack and was identified by his fingerprints.

But the Isis terror group has claimed Bouhlel was “a soldier” acting on its behalf.

And French Prime Minister Manuel Valls said it was “without doubt” that IS was involved in the attack.

France’s interior minister Bernard Cazeneuve, who has called up 12,000 extra police reserves alongside the 120,000 police and soldiers already in place, said Bouhlel appeared to have been radicalised only recently.

Six other people have been held in connection with the atrocity, while a seventh - Bouhlel’s estranged wife – has been released from custody.

Hajer Khalfallah, he mother of his three children, was released on Sunday.

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