Many Muslims reportedly killed in Nice truck attack

Journalist Maryam Violette said she saw bodies on the ground with either the Muslim head covering hijab or some clothing of Arabic nature

Ismaeel Naar

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Many Arabs and Muslims were also targeted in truck attack in the French city of Nice on Thursday evening, according to an Iranian journalist who was present on the ground.

Maryam Violette said she saw bodies on the ground with either the Muslim head covering hijab or some clothing of Arabic nature.

Many on social media are taking her statements as evidence that that driver, a French citizen of Tunisian ancestry, was indiscriminate as he ploughed through the Bastille Day crowd near the French Riviera.

“There were so many Muslim people who were victims because I could see they had scarves over their head and some were speaking Arabic, one family lost a mother and in Arabic, they were saying she’s a martyr,” Violette, who works for the ZananTV, told the Guardian.

Arabs feeling ‘immense fear’

Few Arab sources Al Arabiya English spoke to in Nice over the phone described the absence of police and emergency personnel during the first 30 minutes of the attack. Syrian graduate student Zehni Khairullah told Al Arabiya English of the immense fear Arab tourists and students felt who were near the attack.

“What I experienced in Nice last night will never leave my memory. People running around and screaming while I was a kilometer away from the location of the attack,” Khairullah said. “Walking back to the residence was not an as easy. Every car, motorcycle or person we saw, we stopped, counted to 10 in fear that this person might shoot us,” he recounted.

Khairullah, who was with a fellow Syrian and seven other Jordanian students, was attending a European Innovation Academy workshop on web development for the past week.

“We are being advised to stay indoors in the residence and not move out in the streets. Many are nervous and scared and waiting for more information,” he said.

Warning: Images and footage in video below contains graphic content. Viewer discretion advised.

Watch: Arab mother screams ‘Where’s my daughter’ in France truck attack

'Waiting for more information'

Many Arabs, especially from the Arab Gulf countries, vacation in the French Riviera areas during the summer months. Reporting from Nice, Al Arabiya reporter Nada al-Tuwaijri said that she, along with several Arab tourists, were 10 minutes away from the scene when the attack took place.

“Ten minutes away after this happened, right after the fireworks took place in celebration of the 14th of July, we didn't feel an immediate impact,” our reporter said. “People couldn't find any policemen or someone to inform them whether to evacuate the restaurants or not.”

As of Friday morning, restaurants and shops remained closed to the public in Nice especially near the promenade, although Al Arabiya's reporter on the ground couldn't confirm whether this was a direct result of the Bastille Day holiday or the attack.

“As of noon, we haven't heard confirmed reports whether any Gulf Arab nationals were killed or injured in the attack as news coming out has been slow. People are told to expect more news as the day continues.” al-Tuwaijri reported.

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