JEDDAH: Custodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Salman on Friday offered condolences to French President François Hollande over a terrorist strike in the southern city of Nice that killed 84 people and injured scores during the Bastille Day celebrations.
Expressing solidarity with Paris, the king reiterated the Saudi stance on the rejection of terrorism in all its forms and manifestations and the importance of international efforts to confront and eliminate it.
Crown Prince Mohammed bin Naif and Deputy Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman also sent similar cables of condolences in which they also wished the injured speedy recovery.
Condemning the heinous crime, the Council of Senior Scholars stressed that Islam upholds the sanctity of human blood and criminalizes terrorism that kills and terrifies innocent people in their homes, markets and facilities teeming with men, women and children. “All humanity rejects and condemns it.”
Abdullah bin Abdul Mohsen Al-Turki, Muslim World League secretary general, said that the organization emphasizes its firm position that such terrorist acts that target innocent people, seek to destabilize security and terrorize secure societies are not related to Islam, and contradict human values and principles.
The Gulf Cooperation Council said its member countries “stand in solidarity with the French republic following this cowardly criminal incident whose perpetrators have been stripped of all moral and human values.”
Egypt's top scholar Shawki Allam condemned the assailant as an “extremist” who follows in the footsteps of the devil. “Islam never called for the spilling of blood,” Allam said in a statement. “People who commit such ugly crimes are corrupt of the earth, and follow in the footsteps of Satan... and are cursed in this life and in the hereafter.”
French authorities Friday identified a Tunisian man as the driver of the truck that smashed into the crowd. France's anti-terrorism prosecutor Francois Molins said the 31-year-old Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel was “completely unknown” to the intelligence services but that the attack was “exactly in line with” calls from radical groups to kill.
As France was left reeling from its third major attack within 18 months, President Francois Hollande warned that the toll could rise further, with more than 50 people fighting for their lives.
The assault left a scene of carnage on Nice's famous Promenade des Anglais, with mangled bodies strewn over the palm tree-lined walkway.
One witness said a motorcyclist tried to stop the rampage by drawing level with the truck and attempting to open the door of its cab before he fell and ended up under its wheels.
Dramatic video footage showed police surrounding the heavily damaged truck and firing through the windscreen to kill the attacker.