Five people have been arrested in connection with the Bastille Day attack which killed at least 84 people when a truck drove into a crowd in Nice, according to the Paris prosecutor’s office.
The office did not immediately provide further information about who was in custody or why. Police sources told Reuters that the Saturday arrests involved the attacker’s “close entourage.”
French news agency AFP previously reported that four men with possible ties to the Tunisian driver who committed the attack were detained, citing a judicial source. One of the men was arrested on Friday while three others were taken in by police early Saturday.
The estranged wife of the driver is still being detained by police, the agency reported.
Searching for motive
Investigators are still trying to determine a motive after 31-year-old Mohamed Lahouaiej- Bouhlel drove a large truck into a crowd on Thursday night in the city on the French Riviera.
On Saturday morning, the militant “Islamic State” (IS) group claimed responsibility for the attack via one of its social media outlets.
An IS-published statement said one of its “soldiers” had “carried out the operation in response to calls to target the citizens of coalition countries fighting it in Syria and Iraq.
The statement, however, did not name the attacker. The language also implied that the suspect may have acted independently.
So far, there is no evidence that IS took part in planning the July 14 attack.
Bouhlel was known to police for domestic violence and petty crime but had no known connections to terrorist groups. His father told AFP that Bouhlel suffered from depression and breakdowns in his youth where he “broke and demolished everything.”
Prime Minister Manuel Valls blamed the attack on “radical Islam” while other French officials cautioned that it was too soon to tell.
Bouhlel’s father insisted that his son was not religious, telling AFP: “He didn’t pray, he drank alcohol, and even took drugs.”
Security council meets
Hollande called the security cabinet meeting to discuss defense measures, ahead of a minute of silence at midday.
Boulevard des Anglais reopens
Meanwhile in Nice, the seaside boulevard – scene of the brutal attack – reopened to traffic on Saturday as makeshift memorials were set up near one end of the avenue.
At least 10 children and teenagers were killed during the attack, including two German students. An additional 50 children were injured – some are listed in critical condition, according to hospital officials.
The attack injured a total of 200 people and occurred following a fireworks display on Bastille Day.
France is observing three days of national mourning in honor of the victims.