The so-called Aamaq news agency says Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel was a “soldier” who “carried out the [Nice] operation in response to calls to target the citizens of coalition countries fighting the Islamic State.”
It is obvious Bouhlel was nothing of the sort. He was a mentally disturbed individual, not a radicalized lone wolf jihadist.
“Bouhlel was not religious,” said the cousin of his wife. “He did not go to the mosque, he did not pray, he did not observe Ramadan. He drank alcohol, ate pork and took drugs. This is all forbidden under Islam.
“He was not a Muslim, he was a shit. He beat his wife, my cousin, he was a nasty piece of work.”
French police said Bouhlel was petty criminal. “He was known to the police for violence, and using weapons, but had no direct links with terrorism,” a source told the Telegraph.
On Saturday French Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Bouhlel was not known to anti-terrorist intelligence because he was “radicalized very quickly.”
“This is a new type of attack,” Cazeneuve said. “We are now confronted with individuals that are sensitive to the message of ISIS and are committed to extremely violent actions without necessarily being trained by them.”
Police State Becomes a Permanent Fixture
Cazeneuve and the French government are using the attack on the Promenade de Anglais as a pretext to extend and expand the police state of emergency imposed following the terror attack in November. The state of emergency was set to expire in two weeks. Less than 24 hours after the Nice incident, French President François Hollande extended it.
On Saturday, Robert Zaretsky wrote for Foreign Policy:
It’s fair to wonder if the French government has become addicted to its emergency powers. What’s clear is that the warrantless searches permitted by the legislation have proved both invasive and ineffective: Of the nearly 4,000 administrative searches that have been undertaken since November, only 7 percent have led to court proceedings. No less alarming have been the government’s efforts to use its enhanced powers not only against suspected terrorist cells, but also against individuals and groups protesting various environmental and political measures.
Cazeneuve called on “all patriotic citizens” to become reservists and enlarge the police state. “I want to call on all French patriots who wish to do so, to join this operational reserve,” he said on Saturday.
— Paris Attacks (@parisattacks) July 16, 2016
On the eve of the Bastille Day celebrations and Bouhlel’s murderous rampage, the president of the Regional Council of Provence-Alpes-Côte d’Azur sent a letter to the Elysee Palace demanding the sort of police presence used during the Euros.
Christian Estrosi called for a “grand plan” to expand the police state and mobilize the interior security forces.
He argued that the permanent threat of terrorism to France would require “a lot more than a mobilization for each instant,” Sky News reports.