Prosecutor: Truck Attacker in Nice Plotted for Months
Prosecutor says Mohamed Lahouaiej had multiple accomplices
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Jul 21, 2016 12:37 PM CDT
Dolls and teddy bears are placed at a memorial in a gazebo on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, southern France, Wednesday, July 20, 2016.    (Claude Paris)
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(Newser) – The truck driver who killed 84 people on a Nice beachfront had accomplices and appears to have been plotting his attack for months, the Paris prosecutor said Thursday. Prosecutor Francois Molins said five suspects in custody are facing preliminary terrorism charges for their alleged roles in helping 31-year-old Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel in the July 14 attack, the AP reports. Molins' office, which oversees terrorism investigations, opened a judicial inquiry Thursday into a battery of charges for the suspects, including complicity to murder and possessing weapons tied to a terrorist enterprise. The suspects are four men—two Franco-Tunisians, a Tunisian, and an Albanian—and one woman of dual French-Albanian nationality, Molins said.

People close to Bouhlel, a Tunisian man who had been living in Nice for several years, said he had shown no signs of radicalization until very recently. But Molins said information from Bouhlel's phone showed searches and photos that suggested he was preparing an attack as far back as 2015. The Islamic State has claimed responsibility for the attack, though authorities have said they had not found signs that the extremist group directed it.