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Nice (France) Terrorism Attack: the Hero who got onto the truck and battled with the terrorist before police arrived

A heroic member of the public halted the truck by leaping into the vehicle, wrestling with the driver and seizing his revolver

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French CRS and judicial police work near the heavy truck that ran into a crowd at high speed celebrating the Bastille Day July 14 national holiday on the Promenade des Anglais killing 80 people in Nice, France, July 15, 2016. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
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  • Nice, France Terror Attack: The truck charged for hundreds of meters along the front facing the Baie des Anges (Bay of Angels), slamming into hundreds of people
  • A heroic member of the public halted the truck by leaping into the vehicle, wrestling with the driver and seizing his revolver
  • The driver was then shot dead by two officers

A heroic member of the public halted the truck involved in the Nice terror attack which left 84 dead— by leaping into the vehicle, wrestling with the driver and seizing his revolver, giving the police time to arrive at the spot and shoot the driver dead, a media report said.

The Independent quoted police sources in Nice as confirming that the murderous two kilometre charge of the lorry, driven by Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, 31, might have been even longer if it had not been for the courage of a member of the public.

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The man had hurled himself into the cab when the 20 tonne truck was held up by an obstruction. He wrestled with the driver, who seized a revolver and fired several shots at the man and at police officers who arrived on the scene. None was hurt. The driver was then shot dead by two officers, the police said.

Terror Attack in Europe Image Source: rferl.org
Terror Attack in Europe Image Source: rferl.org

An eyewitness, Eric Ciotti, told the media that as people tried to flee from the truck, someone jumped in and was able to help the police kill the man. ”A person jumped on to the truck to try to stop it,” Ciotti said. ”It’s at that moment that the police were able to neutralise this terrorist. I won’t forget the look of this policewoman who intercepted the killer,” he added.

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Another eyewitness, Nader El Shafei said: “I kept yelling at him, waving with my hands to stop and trying to tell him that there is a lot people under his truck – dead already. But he did not give any attention to anyone outside the truck.” ”And suddenly I saw him picking up something like a cellphone. I thought he would call the ambulance for the accident but it seemed that I was wrong, because he just picked up his gun and he started to shoot the police,” El Shafei added.

“Just when the police arrived they just felt something was wrong so they kept yelling at him and when he did not step out – they saw him from the window taking his gun out,” he said. ”They knew that would be a gun shooting so they just killed him right away – they did not wait to negotiate or something, they just opened fire on him,” he added.(IANS)

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Emergence of Radical Political Groups Raises Concern in Pakistan

Concerns are being voiced about how a few radical groups with proven terror ties have been allowed to re-brand themselves as political parties.

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Rising concerns in Pakistan regarding radical terrorist groups establishing themselves as political parties. VOA
Rising concerns in Pakistan regarding radical terrorist groups establishing themselves as political parties. VOA
  • Tension in Pakistan increasing due to emergence of Radical Political Groups.
  • Extremist groups are gaining a footing in Country’s politics.
  • According to reports, goverment’s efforts are not enough to stop the emerging radicalism in Pakistan.

Concerns are being voiced in Pakistan about how a few radical groups with proven terror ties have been allowed to re-brand themselves as political parties.

Taj Haider, one of the prominent and founding members of the opposition Pakistan People’s Party (PPP), which has been in power five times since 1970, told VOA the country is again seeing the trend of extremist groups camouflaging themselves to enter into politics.

“Religion and politics cannot go hand in hand, but unfortunately this is our new reality. We have seen the recent by-elections in Lahore and Peshawar where militant-turned-political parties were able to mobilize people and gather votes,” Haider said. “And these so-called new political parties, with proven terror records, look determined to contest the upcoming elections in 2018.”

In a recent high-level party meeting presided by PPP chairman Bilawal Bhutto Zardari, the son of Pakistan’s slain Prime Minister Benazir Bhutto, the government was sharply criticized on its inability to forcefully implement the National Action Plan and bar proscribed groups from entering the political sphere.

The National Action Plan is a 20-point strategy devised to combat extremism in 2015 that clearly states no banned groups can operate in the country by changing their names or identity.

Analysts say many other political parties are also agitated and wary about the recent political dynamic that has allowed radicalized groups to enter the political arena.

“The government has repeatedly said it will not allow the hardliners to enter into politics, but the reality is different, these parties are going into masses,” Rasul Baksh Raees, a prominent analyst from Pakistan told VOA.

“As long as these proscribed groups stick to their extreme ideologies and violence, they will be a danger to the society and democracy itself.”

Hafiz Saeed
Hafiz Saeed, head of the Pakistani religious party. (AP Photo/K.M. Chaudary)

PPP’s acute criticism came as Hafiz Saeed, the alleged mastermind of 2008 Mumbai terror attacks and leader of Jamaat-ud-Dawa (JuD), inaugurated the office of his newly launched political party Milli Muslim League (MML) in the eastern city of Lahore.

Pakistan’s Election Commission rejected MML’s party registration application in October, citing its link to Jamaat-ud-Dawa, a U.S. designated terror-sponsoring organization.

But MML looks determined to contest the upcoming state and provincial elections. The party has several offices, has launched a website, and has a social media team spreading its messages through Facebook and Twitter.

Pakistan’s government has repeatedly emphasized it will not tolerate any political party with a proven record of promoting violence and terrorism to use democracy and political means to spread their extreme ideologies.

But critics still say the government is not doing enough to stop radical groups from entering politics.

“Look what happened in Lahore’s recent by-election and who can forget the power show by extremists on the roads of Islamabad. The government was totally helpless,” Raees said.

During the Lahore election in September, a MML backed independent candidate secured the fourth position in the race. The by-election was also contested by Tehreek-e-Labbaik (TeL), another extremist religious party created to carry-on Mumtaz Qadri’s mission, the bodyguard who killed Punjab’s Governor Salman Taseer in 2011 after he had demanded reforms in the controversial blasphemy law. Mumtaz Qadri was later sentenced to death.

Islamic Extremists
Supporters of the Tehreek-e-Labaik party (VOA)

In November, thousands of followers of the Islamist group Tehreek-e-Labaik blocked Islamabad roads for weeks and demanded the resignation of Law Minister Zahid Hamid, after accusing him of blasphemy. The government eventually surrendered to hardliners’ demands after Pakistan’s military played the role of mediator.

The experts say the emerging trend of politicizing militancy is a danger to democracy. They also point out the sectarian and hardline rationale will further complicate the situation in the country that has been trying to combat terrorism for more than a decade.

“Imagine when these hardliners, through political parties, will spread their extreme views on the grassroots level. What will be the future of this country?” Raees said.

But some politicians dismiss the blending of radicalized groups into politics. Haider believes the people of Pakistan can differentiate between politicians and extremists and will not allow militant-turned-politicians to thrive.

“If you look at the past, the religious parties including the Jamaat-i-Islami [an old religious party], despite having a huge following, were never able to clean sweep or get majority in the electoral process of the country,” said Haider.

“Even now, with all these efforts, I believe Milli Muslim League or Tehreek-e-Labaik will not be able to pull large numbers during the general elections. Religious or sectarian votes are scattered in the country and can’t be unified and will not help these newly established political parties to win a prominent number of seats.” VOA