Ter­ror strikes France again I’ve never ad­vo­cated sui­cide bomb­ing, claims Zakir Naik

84 DEAD 31-year-old French-Tu­nisian man drives truck through crowd cel­e­brat­ing na­tional day in Nice HOR­ROR Prom­e­nade des Anglais left strewn with bod­ies; no group claims grue­some at­tack

Hindustan Times ST (Mumbai) - HT Navi Mumbai Live - - FRONT PAGE - Agen­cies ht­metro@hin­dus­tan­times.com Sau­rabh M Joshi sau­rabh.joshi@hin­dus­tan­times.com Zakir Naik ad­dresses the me­dia via Skype from Me­d­ina.

France ex­tended a na­tional state of emer­gency and vowed to strengthen its fight against ter­ror­ism as the coun­try ab­sorbed the shock of a French-Tu­nisian man driv­ing a truck at high speed through Bastille Day rev­ellers on Thurs­day, killing at least 84 peo­ple and in­jur­ing scores.

Thirty one-year-old Mo­hamed La­houaiej Bouh­lel ploughed a 19-tonne truck for two kilo­me­tres through the crowd be­fore he was shot dead by po­lice­men, the third ma­jor ter­ror­ist at­tack in 19 months in France.

Nice’s palm-lined Prom­e­nade des Anglais was left strewn with bod­ies as hun­dreds fled in ter­ror. In a video viewed more than 4,500 times on Face­book, a trem­bling wit­ness, Tarubi Wahid Mosta, re­counted the hor­ror on the prom­e­nade.

“I al­most stepped on a corpse, it was hor­ri­ble. It looked like a bat­tle­field,” he said.

He took pho­to­graphs of an aban­doned doll and pushchair and de­scribed the sense of help­less­ness faced with the carnage.

No group claimed the grue­some at­tack, which left man­gled bod­ies in pools of blood on the Riviera. Mo­bile phone footage showed the truck ini­tially mov­ing at slow speed be­fore the gun­tot­ing driver sped up and be­gan mow­ing down peo­ple.

Hol­lande, who de­clared the in­ci­dent a “ter­ror­ist” at­tack, said France will con­tinue “strik­ing those who at­tack us on our own soil”. He added: “We will fur­ther strengthen our ac­tions in Syria and Iraq.” A body at Nice’s palm-lined Prom­e­nade des Anglais in France af­ter the at­tack on Thurs­day.

The at­tack, on the day France marks the 1789 rev­o­lu­tion­ary storm­ing of Bastille prison in Paris, was an as­sault on lib­erty by fa­nat­ics who de­spised hu­man rights, he said.

Hol­lande also said in a predawn ad­dress he would call up thou­sands of mil­i­tary and po­lice re­servists to re­lieve forces worn out by en­forc­ing a state of emer­gency be­gun in Novem­ber af­ter Is­lamic State sui­cide bombers struck Paris and killed 130 peo­ple.

Only hours ear­lier, he had an­nounced the emer­gency would be lifted by the end of July. Fol­low­ing the at­tack, he said it would be ex­tended by an­other three months. ‘Bod­ies flew like skit­tles as the truck drove along’ Is­lamic State had warned of sim­i­lar strikes twice PM Modi to meet CMs to dis­cuss in­ter­nal se­cu­rity

Con­tro­ver­sial Is­lamic preacher Dr Zakir Naik on Fri­day ad­dressed a press con­fer­ence via Skype from Me­d­ina in Saudi Ara­bia, at which he dis­missed as “mis­in­for­ma­tion” al­le­ga­tions that he ad­vo­cated sui­cide bomb­ings or in­spired ter­ror­ists. He said he has al­ways con­demned sui­cide at­tacks as they lead to the deaths of in­no­cent peo­ple, which is “anti-Is­lam”. How­ever, he went on to say that sui­cide bomb­ings can be used in some sit­u­a­tions.

Naik, the sub­ject of a po­lice in­quiry since it was re­ported that two of the ter­ror­ists who took hostages in Dhaka two weeks ago had drawn in­spi­ra­tion from his ser­mons, be­gan the press con­fer­ence by of­fer­ing con­do­lences for the vic­tims of Fri­day’s carnage in Nice, France.

“I did not in­spire any ter­ror­ist. Sui­cide bomb­ings tar­get­ing in­no­cent peo­ple are con­demnable,” Naik said, adding that his state­ments on ter­ror­ism and sui­cide bomb­ings had been “doc­tored and tam­pered [with]”.

REUTERS

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