Morning After Terror Attack in Nice, Leading Local Rabbi Says Members of Jewish Community Among Wounded, Missing
At least six members of France’s Jewish community are among the injured and missing following the horrific terror attack in the south of the country on Thursday evening that killed 84 people and has left over 130 injured, a leading local rabbi told a Chabad website.
Rabbi Yossef Yitschok Pinson — director of Habad Loubavitch of Nice Côte d’Azur and the most senior Chabad-Lubavitch emissary in the region — said the Jewish community is “praying for everyone who has been injured in this terrible attack.”
The missing and injured Jewish victims were identified by Pinson by their Hebrew names as Axel ben Yael, Moshe ben Yaakov, Clara bat Nouna, Yonathan ben Zuzy, John Dray and Dominique Azan.
The terrorist, Mohamed Lagouaiej Bouhlel, 31, a Frenchman of Tunisian descent, plowed his truck into bystanders who were watching a fireworks display in the French Riviera city of Nice in celebration of Bastille Day. The driver was subsequently shot dead by police after he attempted to open fire on the crowd and security officials.
According to Pinson, a group of four counselors at Chabad’s Gan Israel summer day camp were also at the scene of the attack, having crossed the street moments before Bouhlel rammed into people.
“They had to run from the truck. It was just a few feet away from them,” he said.
The counselors were placed on lockdown in a nearby restaurant and eventually sought safety in the rabbi’s home. “Obviously, they are very upset, having seen everything — people falling and bodies,” said Pinson.
An eyewitness at the scene of Thursday’s attack spoke with The Algemeiner late last night, recalling the carnage and mayhem following the events.
“We were coming back from a restaurant with a few friends just in front of the place of the attack,” the witness, who did not wish to be named, said. After realizing something catastrophic had happened, he rushed to the scene of the attack with family members.
“As soon as we reached the place we started to see bodies all over the place,” the eyewitness said. “Both my parents are doctors so we went out to help the injured people… the three of us stayed on the scene for an hour or so until the military arrived to the area and started to evacuate all the bodies.”
In a statement following the attack, Joël Mergui, president of France’s umbrella body for Jewish organizations, called on French leaders to combat Islamic extremism, which he compared to Nazism.
“Like the United States and Israel, whose population is also affected by this new type of unconventional warfare on a global scale, our country must resist Islamism, this new denier of human rights, today’s Nazis,” he said. “The hijacking of a truck and making it a weapon of war shows once again that the enemies of democracy will stop at nothing to bring death, chaos and terror, with the sole objective of imposing their jihadist vision on the world.”