BREAKING : Dozens of people have been killed by a lorry that ploughed into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice

Vehicle reportedly mounted kerb and struck people celebrating Bastille Day in the southern French city of Nice, local media sources say

Dozens of people are reported injured Photograph: Twitter/@gutjahr

British security and government officials are monitoring the situation in Nice, as the seriousness of the incident escalated.

The initial details suggest a tactic that jihadist propaganda has suggested for several years, with a vehicle ploughing into a crowd. For instance, Inspire magazine – affiliated with al Qaida – urged the tactic several years ago.

There are two immediate direct consequences for the UK if the attack is confirmed as terrorist. First, is the decision by terrorists to use the tactic. Second, past attacks overseas have led to increase in hate incidents in the UK directed at muslims in Britain.

Nice-Matin quoted its own reporter at the scene as saying there were many injured people and blood on the street. It published the photograph below of the damaged, long-distance delivery truck, which it said was “riddled with bullets” and images of emergency services treating the injured.

Damien Allemand, the paper’s correspondent, was quoted as saying: “People are running. It’s panic. He rode up onto the Prom and piled into the crowd … There are people covered in blood. There must be many injured.”

An eyewitness is telling BFM TV that he heard shots fired but that he could see nothing of the driver of the truck. It was unclear who fired the shots the witness referred to.

There have been numerous reports that shots were fired during the incident, though it must be pointed out that they have not been confirmed by officials.

The local paper Nice-Matin: “If you are looking for a place to find cover, use #PortesOuvertesNice (doors open Nice)”

Reuters now reports that a French official has told local media that at least 30 people are dead and 100 injured. The driver is also dead, the local prefect reportedly said.
Emergency services help an injured victim. Photograph: Eric Gaillard/Reuters

The Agence France-Presse (AFP) says its reporter described seeing a white van driving at high speed on to the Promenade des Anglais, which is by the beach in Nice, as people were leaving after the Bastille day celebration display.

“We saw people hit and bits of debris flying around,” he said, adding that the incident took place near the Hotel Negresco. Terrified pedestrians screamed as they fled the area. “It was absolute chaos,” he said.

A security cordon was established, closing off the central Place Massena by 11.30pm GMT, another AFP correspondent said.

Christian Estrosi, the official in question, tweeted: “the driver of a truck seems to have killed dozens of people. Stay indoors for the time being. More information is to follow.”

A truck has driven into crowds in Nice. Photograph: Twitter/@Admitonesin

Dozens of people have been killed by a lorry that ploughed into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in Nice, according to the mayor of the southern French city.