French Terror Suspect Named As Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, A "Well-Known" Tunisian Criminal
Now that the initial shock of the Nice Bastille Day terror attack which claimed at least 84 lives has passed, and the investigation into the causes and motives behind the latest tragic mass killing has begun. Earlier this morning it was revealed that the driver of the truck used to attack Bastille Day celebrations in Nice has been named in local reports as 31-year-old delivery driver Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, a Tunisian criminal, who is reported to be a French passport holder, and well-known to the police.
According to newspaper Nice-Matin, quoted by the Telegraph, the identity of the driver of the truck that drove into the crowds Tuesday night has been confirmed. It is the owner of the identity card that was found in the truck by police. He is from Nice and is of Tunisian origin, aged 31, called Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel. Police raided his apartment in the Nice Nord district this morning. He works as a delivery driver and is known for criminal acts, including violence, but any radicalisation has gone unnoticed. His act seems yet to have been premeditated.
"He was known to the police for violence, and using weapons, but had no direct links with terrorism," said an investigating source. "His identity car was found in the lorry. He had French and Tunisian nationality."
As the Telegraph adds, he was described as a "loner with a motorbike" by neighbours as police searched his one bedroom apartment in a rundown district of Nice, reports Tom Morgan. One resident in the small apartment block where Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel is thought to have plotted his attack said: "He was quiet and moody. I did not know whether he was a Muslim. I think he had a motorbike."
Police sealed off a flat of La Route de Turin and ordered The Telegraph to step away from the scene. Bouhlel, 31, is believed to have been living in a rented property overlooking a small carpark.
Police investigating the attacker's background raided a first floor flat in a shabby apartment block in the Abattoirs area of Nice. A woman living in the same block said: 'I hardly knew him, but from what I could see he seemed very weird. He lived alone. He said very little to anyone and wasn’t very polite. He wouldn’t hold the door open for you.'
The name of the flat occupant appears on the ground floor letterbox grid as Lahouaiej Bouhlel, though this name has not yet been officially confirmed as that of the 31 year old French-Tunisian attacker. A schoolboy who also lives in the block of flats said he was alerted to the start of the raid at about 9.30am local time when armed police set up positions in front of the building and behind.
A neighbour who gave her name only as Jasmine, 40, said: "He was rude and bit weird. We would hold the door open for him and he would just blank him. "He kept himself to himself, but would always rant about his wife. He had martial problems and would tell people in the local cafe.
"He scared my children though. They will be scarred by this. They were down there last night - they are 13 and 7 - they could have been involved."
She added: "He was very smart with the same haircut as George Clooney."
His neighbour - who lived next door - and didn't want to be named, said: "To be honest I hardly ever saw him. "He was well dressed, and the last time I saw him he was with two other guys. I can't remember when it was."
He may have hired the truck on on Wednesday in a neighboring town of Nice. The investigators are still is looking for possible accomplices.