Nice attacker plotted for months and had accomplices – prosecutor

Mohamed Lahouaiej-Bouhlel, the man who drove a truck into a crowd on the promenade in Nice on Bastille Day, killing 84 people, plotted his attack for months and had accomplices, the Paris prosecutor has said.

Francois Molins said his office, which oversees terrorism investigations, said five suspects currently in custody are facing preliminary terrorism charges for their alleged roles in helping Bouhlel.

Molins said information from Bouhlel’s phone showed searches and photos that indicated he had been studying an attack since 2015.

The new details came as French government tried to reassure its citizens following the country’s third major attack in 18 months.

On Thursday, the senate was set to pass a bill extending the state of emergency, which gives police extra powers to carry out searches and place people under house arrest, for six months.

It is the fourth time the security measures have been extended since Islamic State attacked Paris in November last year, killing 130 people.

On Wednesday, French MPs voted to allow the authorities to search luggage and vehicles without prior approval from a prosecutor, and to permit police to seize data from computers and mobile phones.

The legislation makes it easier for authorities to shut down places of worship suspected of encouraging extremism.

More details soon …