Friday, July 15, 2016

How the Nice truck attack managed to kill so many so quickly

Unlike the November assault in Paris and the twin airport bombings in Belgium and Turkey, Thursday’s attack in Nice, France, traded explosives and small arms for the lethality of a speeding box truck aimed at late-night revelers. With at least 84 reported killed and 52 critically injured, one man in a truck managed to kill more people than the attacks in San Bernardino, Calif., Chattanooga, Tenn., and Orlando did combined. That raises the question: How was a truck able to kill so many so quickly?
The answer consists of a confluence of factors, the primary one being that the venue the attacker singled out, the Promenade des Anglais, was a nearly indefensible target. A long stretch of seaside road and boardwalk, the promenade — packed with hundreds celebrating Bastille Day — would have been nearly impossible to police and to secure, said Bruce Hoffman, a counterterrorism expert and the director of Georgetown University’s Security Studies Program.
The evening was ending and security forces, on heightened alert following the European soccer championships and the religious holiday of Ramadan, had likely relaxed, putting their guard down as festivities concluded.

In addition, the method of attack was atypical to what security officials might have been expecting — a box truck rather than explosives or firearms. That added to the confusion and hampered any effort to stop the vehicle.


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