-- The truck driver who killed 84 people in Nice, France last week searched for information online on the June massacre at an Orlando gay club and the recent shooting of police in Dallas, part of the driver’s apparent “recent interest” in violence and Islamic extremism, according to French authorities.
Paris prosecutor Francois Molins today revealed new details about 31-year-old Tunisian Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, the man who was killed by police after driving a truck through crowds gathered for a fireworks display on the southern French coast. Three Americans were among the dead.
Bouhlel, who lived in Nice, was “very far” from a devout Muslim, Molins said. He ate pork, drank alcohol, took drugs and led an “unbridled sex life” -- behavior generally forbidden in Islam.
But just recently, beginning July 1, it appears Bouhlel began to dive headlong into Islamic extremism. He let his beard grow, started talking about the Syria-based terror group ISIS and searched online for information about the Orlando and Dallas shootings, Molins said. Photos of late al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden were also found on Bouhlel’s computer.
In the case of the Orlando massacre, in which more than 50 people were killed, the gunman pledged allegiance to ISIS in the midst of the attack. In Dallas last week, five police officers were gunned down in an attack that is suspected to have been anti-police, and not religiously motivated.
Without naming him, ISIS claimed Bouhlel as one of its “soldiers” in a claim of responsibility days after the mass killing, but Molins said that so far, “nothing at this point shows the allegiance of Bouhlel to ISIS and no links between Bouhlel and jihadists.”