Paris prosecutor: Nice attacker had accomplices and plotted for months

PARIS (AP): The Latest on the aftermath of the truck attack in the French city of Nice (all times local):

5:55 p.m.

The Paris prosecutor says the driver who killed 84 people on a Nice beachfront had accomplices and he had been plotting his attack for months.

Prosecutor Francois Molins said his office, which oversees terrorism investigations, said five suspects currently in custody are facing preliminary terrorism charges for their alleged roles in helping driver Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, in a judicial inquiry opened Thursday.

Molins said information from Bouhlel’s phone showed searches and photos that indicated he had been studying an attack since 2015.

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–This item has been corrected to show that the judicial inquiry opened Thursday, not Wednesday.

3:40 p.m.

The Leonardo DiCaprio Foundation says it has raised nearly $45 million at a celebrity-filled auction gala in Saint Tropez for environmental action, but will donate a portion to a French anti-terrorism charity in the light of last week’s attacks.

The third annual auction held Wednesday night by the Titanic-star’s foundation honored victims and survivors of the recent tragedy in the neighboring city of Nice. DiCaprio and others also gave personal donations to the anti-terrorism charity. The foundation did not specify how much money would be given to the charity in total.

Special performances at the glitzy French Riviera event included Grammy Award-winning artist The Weeknd and award-winning recording artist Lana Del Rey.

Actors Bradley Cooper, Tobey Maguire and Edward Norton were in attendance alongside Mariah Carey, Naomi Campbell and Bono.

1:25 p.m.

French President Francois Hollande has defended authorities after a newspaper said there was a lack of transparency over the Nice attacks.

Hollande said that “there’s no room for polemics. There’s only room for transparency” when it comes to the Bastille Day rampage that killed 84 people.

Hollande said that an internal police investigation, launched Thursday by Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve in a bid to diffuse criticism over a perceived lack of transparency, would evaluate how the police handled the attacks.

The results will be known next week, according to Hollande, who added that any “shortfalls” will be carefully addressed.

12:30 p.m.

Poland’s Foreign Ministry says that two Polish women have been killed in last week’s truck attack in the southern French city of Nice.

The ministry’s spokesman, Rafal Sobczak, confirmed to The Associated Press on Thursday that French authorities have identified two Polish women among the victims. He gave no further details.

The mayor of the southern village of Krzyszkowice, Wladyslaw Dydula, has told the AP that two young women from the village died in the attack in Nice. They were two out of four sisters vacationing in France who were attending July 14 Bastille Day celebrations in Nice, when an attacker slammed a truck into the crowd, killing 84 people.

11:55 a.m.

France’s interior minister has acknowledged there was no national police presence at the entrance to the pedestrianized walkway in Nice during the Bastille Day truck attack that killed 84 people.

In what represents a backtracking from his previous claim that there was, Bernard Cazeneuve says local police, who are more lightly armed, were guarding the entrance where Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel drove his truck.

Cazeneuve on Thursday defended himself against charges in French newspaper Liberation he lied publicly about there being a national police presence at the entry point – with their cars blocking the road.

In a statement, Cazeneuve accused the paper of conspiracy theories and maintains that several “heroic” national police – who shot dead the attacker – were stationed further down the promenade.


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