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French police have detained five people believed to be linked to Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, the man who killed 84 people in Nice, the Paris prosecutor’s office says.

According to Le Monde, three arrests were made on July 16 and two on July 15, including Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel’s estranged wife.

Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel drove a truck into crowds marking Bastille Day on the Promenade des Anglais on July 14 before he was shot dead by police.

ISIS claimed one of its followers carried out the attack.

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

France’s Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel seemed to have been “radicalized very quickly”.

He said the “new type of attack… showed the extreme difficulty of the fight against terrorism”.

Prosecutors said Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, a 31-year-old Tunisian, drove the truck 1.2 miles along the promenade targeting people.Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel Nice truck attack

Of the 84 who died, 10 were children. Some 202 people were injured; 52 are critical, of whom 25 are on life support.

Stephanie Simpson, from the Lenval children’s hospital in Nice, said 5 children remained in critical condition, one was in a “very bad” condition, three were on artificial respiration, one had been stabilized and one 8-year-old child remained unidentified.

President Francois Hollande said 50 people were “between life and death”, while several people are missing.

Meanwhile, President Francois Hollande met with his defense and security chiefs and cabinet ministers on July 16.

He called for national unity in France and 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.”

Francois Hollande, who says the attack was a terrorist act, has already moved to extend a state of emergency by three months.

A state of emergency has been in place across France since the Paris attacks carried out by ISIS on November 13.

Francois Hollande had proposed lifting the state of emergency on July 26, but reversed his decision after the Nice attack.

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

Residents of Nice and foreign tourists were killed, among them 4 French citizens, 3 Algerians, a teacher and two schoolchildren from Germany, 3 Tunisians, two Swiss, two Americans, a Ukrainian, an Armenian and a Russian.

Mohamed 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 radicalization,” prosecutor Francois Molins said.

However, French PM Manuel Valls said he was “in way or another” linked to radical Islam and Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said the attack bore the hallmarks of jihadist terrorism.

More than 80 people, including children, have been killed after a truck slammed through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day in the southern French city of Nice.

The driver ploughed on for 1.2 miles on the Promenade des Anglais at about 23:00 local time on July 14, before being shot dead by police.

Witnesses say the speeding truck swerved and zigzagged in an apparent attempt to hit more people.

Police reportedly found guns and grenades inside the lorry.

France’s President Francois Hollande said the attack was of “an undeniable terrorist nature”.

PM Manuel Valls has declared three days of national mourning for the victims from July 16.

A state of emergency, in place since November’s Paris attacks carried out by ISIS, in which 130 people died, has been extended by three months.

The attack in Nice began shortly after the end of a firework display on the seafront for Bastille Day, which is the country’s national holiday.

Photo AFP

Photo AFP

A white truck, the front of which was riddled with bullet holes, continued to be examined by police in Nice on July 15.

A journalist with the Nice Matin newspaper reported from the scene that there was “a lot of blood”.

According to officials, 84 people died in the attack and about 50 people have been injured, 18 of them critically.

Nice Mayor Christian Estrosi has told local media that about 10 children were among those killed.

No group has so far said it was behind the attack; prosecutors said the inquiry would be handled by anti-terror investigators.

According to AFP news agency, the identity papers of a 31-year-old French-Tunisian were found in the truck, citing an unnamed police source.

Local media reports named the man as Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, but his identity has not yet been confirmed.

President Francois Hollande addressed the nation on July 15 saying France had been “badly hit” but was strong, adding “we need to do everything we can to fight against” such attacks.

“All of France is under the threat of Islamic terrorism,” he said.

Francois Hollande added that “operational reserves” would be deployed to support the army and security forces across the country, with particular focus on the borders.

Manuel Valls said later that the goal of terrorists was to “instill fear and panic”.

“But France is a great country and a great democracy that will not allow itself to be destabilized,” he said.

President Barack Obama condemned “in the strongest terms” what he said appeared to be “a horrific terrorist attack in Nice”.

Nice’s jazz festival has been cancelled and the southern city of Marseille has announced it is canceling a fireworks show planned to take place on Friday evening.