Nice attack: France calls up 12,000 reservists

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France has called up 12,000 police reservists to help boost security after Thursday’s attack in Nice in which more than 80 people were killed.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve also appealed to “all willing French patriots” to sign up as reservists, to help protect the country’s borders.

Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel drove a lorry along the sea front through crowds before police shot him dead.

So-called Islamic State claimed one of its followers carried out the attack.

Police in Nice

A news agency linked to the group, Amaq Agency, said: “He did the attack in response to calls to target the citizens of the coalition that is fighting the Islamic State.”

Hooded French police officers were pictured leaving the Nice address of the attacker Lahouaiej-Bouhlel on Saturday

Five people believed to be linked to Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, including his estranged wife, are in police custody, the Paris prosecutor’s office said.

France, which on Saturday began three days of mourning, already has 120,000 police and military deployed around the country. Its 12,000 reservists are made up of 9,000 military police officers and a further 3,000 regular police officers.

“I want to call on all French patriots who wish to do so, to join this operational reserve,” Mr Cazeneuve said.

Some 30,000 people were on the Promenade des Anglais at the time of the attack on Thursday night.

Of the 84 who died, 10 were children. A total of 303 people had been taken into hospital following the attacks, the French health department confirmed on Saturday. Of those, 121 remain in hospital, 30 of whom are children, and 26 people are still in intensive care – including five children.

Residents of Nice and foreign tourists were killed, among them four French citizens, three Algerians, a teacher and two schoolchildren from Germany, three Tunisians, two Swiss, two Americans, a Ukrainian, an Armenian and a Russian.

Previously, Mr Cazeneuve said Lahouaiej-Bouhlel seemed to have been “radicalised very quickly”, urging that this was a “new type of attack…[and] showed the extreme difficulty of the fight against terrorism”.

Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, a 31-year-old Tunisian, drove the lorry 2km (1.2 miles) along the promenade, at times zig-zagging to target people, prosecutors said.

A tribute left by mourners in Nice, France, of a teddy bear holding a sign of solidarity

French President Francois Hollande met with his defence and security chiefs and cabinet ministers on Saturday and called for national unity in France.

He said: “We are in a time when, and we have seen it, there is a temptation to divide the country.

“Faced with these temptations, faced with this risk, we must recall the unity and cohesion of this country.”

Speaking in Nanterre, on the outskirts of Paris, she said the budget for the armed forces should be increased.

She also called on Mr Cazeneuve to resign and said that France had the means to defend itself, but that its leaders were too weak to do it.

Lahouaiej-Bouhlel was known to the police as a petty criminal, but was “totally unknown to intelligence services… and was never flagged for signs of radicalisation,” prosecutor Francois Molins said.

A neighbour of Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, who used to live in a high-rise block of flats on Boulevard Henri Sappia with his family, said he did not believe the 31-year-old was involved with IS.

Samiq, who did not want to give his surname, told the Press Association news agency: “I never saw him going to the Mosque. He was not a Muslim. During Ramadan I saw him smoking.”

Speaking in Nice, the president of the Regional Council for the Muslim Faith, Boubakar Bekri, said mosques in the area had responded to the attack.

“Yesterday in all mosques in the region of Alpes-Maritimes, there has been a common prayer calling for vigilance and patience, because these very bad events affect us; and there has been a call for blood donation,” he said.

People placing candles among the tributes in Nice

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