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Two more suspects held over Nice Bastille Day lorry attack

Soldiers patrol the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, southern France. Picture by Claude Paris, Associated Press
Frank Jordans, Associated Press

TWO more suspects in the Bastille Day lorry attack that killed 84 people have been transferred to French intelligence headquarters in Paris to face likely terrorism charges.

The July 14 attack occurred when Tunisian Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel drove through crowds watching fireworks on Nice’s famed Promenade des Anglais on the French Riviera before he was shot by police.

The two suspects are among six people who remain in custody, according to an official at the Paris prosecutor’s office, which oversees national terrorism investigations.

Three of the six were transferred to the intelligence headquarters on Monday.

Prosecutor Francois Molins said the suspects include one who Bouhlel sent a text message to minutes before the attack, asking for more weapons.

Earlier, signs of normal life returned to the Promenade des Anglais, with joggers and visitors enjoying the sunshine, and businesses reopening.

On Monday evening, mourners formed a human chain to remove candles, flowers and other tributes honouring the victims of the attack.

Rather than dismantling the tributes to the dead, volunteers moved them from the spots where victims fell along the killer’s trajectory to a gazebo in a seaside park.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said 59 people remain in hospital, 29 of them in intensive care, out of 308 people injured overall.

Mr Molins said a search of Bouhlel’s computer had found a clear and recent interest in “radical jihadism,” adding that the attack was obviously premeditated though there was no proof Bouhlel was directed by an extremist network.

Internet searches on his computer included Islamic propaganda chants, the terms “horrible deadly accidents,” and the recent attacks against the gay nightclub in Orlando, Florida, police officers in Dallas, and the killing of two police officials in Magnanville, outside of Paris.

Prime Minister Manuel Valls was loudly booed on Monday as he attended a memorial ceremony on the Nice shore, amid widespread criticism of security failures.

French politicians are set to debate whether the country’s state of emergency should be extended for another three months.

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