Nice killer had 'psychological problems', says neighbour


While Islamic State (IS) has described the lorry driver who massacred at least 84 people in Nice as "a soldier" who responded to calls to attack its enemies, people who knew him personally have described him as a man with "psychological problems" - and not someone they even considered to be a devout Muslim.

Inquiries continued into whether the driver, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, aged 31, acted alone or had accomplices before he drove a 19-tonne hired truck at speed into scores of people celebrating Bastille Day on the Promedade des Anglais on Thursday night.

He was then shot dead by police.

But, despite IS claiming responsibility for the attack, a neighbour of Bouhlel's said he did not believe he was involved with the group.

Bouhlel's rampage left people wounded on the street.

Speaking outside the high-rise block of flats on Boulevard Henri Sappia, where the suspect had previously lived with his family, Samiq, who did not want to give his surname, said: "I never saw him going to the Mosque. He was not a Muslim. During Ramadan I saw him smoking."

Bouhlel's father confirmed that his son had received psychological treatment and Samiq, who used to play football with Bouhlel, said people suspected he had - but said he was still shocked by what had happened.

Another neighbour added that Bouhlel's estranged wife - who had suffered domestic violence at the hands of her husband and was questioned by police on Friday - was a "really lovely woman, who doesn't deserve all this".

Hundreds of tributes laid along the Promenade des Anglais.

IS's news outlet, Aamaq, quoted a source as saying the attacker was a "soldier" who had responded to calls "to target the citizens of coalition countries fighting the Islamic State".

Although the language used implies that he may have acted independently, an IS claim of responsibility came after the French authorities said Bouhlel had no known links with terrorists, unlike those behind previous attacks in Paris.

A total of five people have been arrested following the Bastille Day attack, which injured more than 200 people on the Promenade des Anglais, according to officials.

According to reports by Europe 1, officers arrested two people believed to be known to the killer during a raid at an address near Nice's main train station on Saturday morning. A third person was also arrested at an address in Nice earlier in the morning.