Third arrest in relationship with the Bastille Day attack in Nice

Imam says many Muslims among Nice attack victims.

(Photo: EFE)
English 17/07/2016 19:08 AP Nice, France Actualizada 19:08
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French authorities have detained a third person in connection with the Bastille Day truck attack in Nice that killed 84 people, according to an official in the prosecutor's office, which oversees national terrorism investigations.

The 37-year-old man was said to be part of the attacker's "entourage," according to the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity in line with government policy.

The imam of Nice's main mosque says many victims of last week's Bastille Day truck attack were themselves Muslim.

Mahmoud Benzamia, the Imam of the En Nour Mosque, was at Nice's Pasteur Hospital on Sunday to console and pray with victims' relatives. He pointed to one weeping woman whose daughter had died in the attack leaving two of her children behind in Algeria.

"We are touched, profoundly touched by this horrible act that affects many Muslim families," Benzamia told AP Television. He said the first victim to fall in the attack worshiped at his mosque.

Benzamia noted that relatives of Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhiel, the Tunisian-born truck driver responsible for the attack that claimed the lives of at least 84 people, said he wasn't a devout, practicing Muslim. Officials said Bouhiel had apparently undergone a rapid conversion to radical Islam.

"He is a madman, a fanatic who committed an act that has been put on Islam," said Benzamia. "And we don't accept this and in fact the precepts of Islam have nothing to do with this act."

A lawyer for the estranged wife of the truck attacker who killed 84 people in Nice says the woman was no longer in touch with her husband.

Jean-Yves Garino told BFM-TV on Sunday that the woman, who is the mother of Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel's three children, had been physically abused by her husband, and eventually threw him out of the house.

Garino said "it was hard, but she did it," adding, "she was no longer in contact with him."

He said Bouhlel also was violent with the rest of the family, including the woman's mother.

The woman was detained Friday and released from custody earlier Sunday. Six people are still being detained.

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