NICE, France (Armenian Weekly)—At least one Armenian citizen was killed in the assault on a Bastille Day celebration in Nice on July 14, which killed at least 84 people. Armenia’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs) tweeted about the citizen’s death hours after the attack, which French President Francois Hollande called a “terrorist assault.” Armenia’s Foreign Ministry announced the death of a second Armenian citizen in a separate tweet, but later said that the news was not true.
A witness to the attack, Susan Mkhitaryan, told Public Radio of Armenia that victim was able to save her child as the panicked crowd sought shelter at a nearby restaurat.
Witnesses and authorities said that at least 84 people, including children, were killed by a charging truck, while celebrating the French national holiday, reported the New York Times. The driver of the truck who is yet to be officially identified was shot to death by police officers. According to several reports, papers found inside the truck indicate that the attacker was a 31-year-old man of Franco-Tunisian decent named Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel.
Nice’s Armenian priest, Father Grigor Khachatrian said that the Armenian who was killed was a young woman. Speaking to Armenia’s Arevelk news, Father Khachatrian said that while the identity of the deceased was clear, they could not yet officially release any details.
According to the French-Armenian Nouvelles D’Armenie magazine, the Coordinating Council of Armenian Organizations of France (CCAF ) issued the following statement: “The CCAF sincerely condemns the attack that occurred in Nice on the national holiday. Our thoughts are with the victims of this massacre, that is a result of jihadist barbarism, which strikes France after having sown death and destruction in the Middle East. We extend our condolences to the families affected by this terrible terrorist attack, as well as to the city of Nice, local and national authorities, and the President of the Republic.”
Armenian President Serzh Sarkisian also sent a letter of condolences to President Hollande following the attack. In his letter, Sarkisian condemned the assault and called for united fight against international terrorism. Below is Sarkisian’s letter in its entirety.
I am deeply shocked by the news on the horrendous tragedy which took place last night in Nice and claimed lives of dozens of innocent people. During last eighteen months, France has for the third time become a target for barbaric acts. They have cast blow not only on France but on the entire human kind. This is also a signal for us to unite more resolutely in our fight against the international terrorism.
I express my deepest condolences to you, the Government of France, and families of the victims on the occasion of the dreadful tragedy which overwhelmed your country and assure you that at the difficult time of grief Armenia and the Armenian people stand by the friendly France.
President of the Republic of Armenia