Five suspects held over Nice attack to appear in court

Five people detained after last week's massacre in Nice are due to appear before a judge Thursday, as the French Senate backed a law extending the state of emergency.

Five suspects held over Nice attack to appear in court
Photo: AFP

Five people detained after last week's massacre in Nice are due to appear before a judge Thursday, as France is set
to pass a law extending the state of emergency.

The government is scrambling to reassure a jittery population after the country's third major attack in 18 months killed 84 people out celebrating Bastille Day.

Four men and one woman aged between 22 and 40 are due to appear before the court for links to Tunisian Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel who ploughed a truck into the crowded promenade in Nice.

They include a 40-year-old whom Bouhlel had known for a long time and a 38-year-old Albanian, detained along with his girlfriend and suspected of providing the attacker with an automatic pistol.

A 22-year-old man who received an SMS from Bouhlel shortly before he began his rampage will also appear in court, as well as another man who had been in contact with Bouhlel over weapons.

Like Bouhlel, none of those detained were known to French intelligence prior to the attack.

France's National Assembly and Senate are also set to pass a bill extending the state of emergency — which gives police extra powers to carry out searches and place people under house arrest — for six months.

It is the fourth time the security measures have been extended since Islamic State jihadists struck Paris in November, killing 130 people at restaurants, a concert hall and the national stadium.

On Wednesday, MPs also voted to allow authorities to search luggage and vehicles without prior approval from a prosecutor and to allow the police to seize data from computers and mobile phones.

The legislation also makes it easier for authorities to shut down places of worship where calls for violence and hate are made.

The Islamic State group has said the Tunisian driver was one of its “soldiers” but investigators say that while he showed a recent interest in jihadist activity, there was no evidence he acted on behalf of the extremist group.

The group Wednesday posted a video apparently shot in Iraq, where IS holds swaths of territory, showing two French-speaking jihadists threatening more attacks against France.

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French prosecutors demand magazine’s withdrawal over Nice terror attack images

Relatives of the 86 victims of last year's Nice terror attack have been outraged at a magazine's publication of video surveillance images of the moment a jihadist's truck plowed into the crowd. Prosecutors are demanding the publication be withdrawn.

French prosecutors demand magazine's withdrawal over Nice terror attack images
Photo: AFP

The Paris prosecutor on Thursday demanded the withdrawal of the latest edition of Paris Match which contains surveillance camera images from last year's Bastille Day attack that killed 86 people in Nice.

It asked the court “to order the withdrawal from sale” of the weekly news magazine, which came out Thursday, and “ban publication in all formats, notably digital”, of the issue, which has angered the victims' families.

A judge is to rule on the request at 2pm French time.

The images in question were taken from video surveillance cameras along the Promenade des Anglais, where a Tunisian jihadist plowed his truck into the crowd who had been watching the annual July 14th fireworks show.

The images are believed to show the moments the truck struck the victims, although Paris Match insists no one can be identified.

An investigation is also underway over breach of confidentiality which will try to determine how Paris Match was able to get hold of the images.

Eric Morain, the lawyer for the victims of terror attacks said the images were “an attack on the dignity of both the victims and their families”.

Victims associations have also denounced the publication they say is based solely on a desire to be “sensational” and to create “a morbid and voyeuristic atmosphere” on the anniversary of the attack.

The Mayor of Nice Christian Estrosi described the images as “unbearable and abject”.

But the magazine's editor Olivier Royant justified the publication in a statement.

He said staff “had wanted to pay homage to the victims, by re-visiting them one year later… so that society does not forget them.”

Royant said many of the photos had already been published in the media as well as on TV. He said they images are taken from afar, without identifying anyone and without “attacking their dignity”.

This year, instead of a fireworks display that drew some 30,000 revellers last year to the famous Promenade des Anglais there will be candles, a memory book and a solemn speech by President Emmanuel Macron.