The message was sent months before the horrific attack which left 84 people dead in the southern French city of Nice, Facebook messages from an accomplice told him to “load the truck with 2,000 tones of iron, release the breaks and I will watch”.
Examination of the terrorists phone showed he had been planning his sick attack for months
Mollins said: “Investigations have not only confirmed the premeditated nature of the attack, but allowed us to establish that (Bouhlel) had support and accomplices in the preparation and execution of his criminal act.”
The terrorist’s mobile phone showed he had taken pictures at a Bastille Day fireworks display in Nice last year, as well as on a concert on the Promenade des Anglais on July 17, 2015.
On April 4, another Tunisian, Chokri C, 37, had sent Bouhlel a Facebook message reading: “Load the truck with 2,000 tonnes of iron… release the brakes my friend and I will watch.”
Bouhlel was killed by police after barreling his 20-ton truck down Nice’s famed Promenade des Anglais for some two kilometers.
Bouhlel and a 30-year-old French-Tunisian with no previous convictions had phoned each other 1,218 times in a year, Molins said.
Four days earlier, the prosecutor said, a text message from the same man found on a phone seized at Bouhlel’s said: “I’m not Charlie; I’m happy. They have brought in the soldiers of Allah.”
The message was dated three days after the January 2015 newsroom massacre at Charlie Hebdo, the satirical publication, and the worldwide movement of solidarity for the victims and France, “I’m Charlie.”
Hours after the attack, the same man filmed the bloody scene on the promenade.
The aftermath of the Nice attack has seen France being torn apart, with finger-pointing and accusations that security was wanting despite the state of emergency that has been in place since the Paris attacks last November.
Earlier today, French officials defended the government’s security measures in Nice on the night of the attack, even as the interior minister acknowledged that national police were not, as he had claimed before, stationed at the entrance to the closed-off boulevard during the attack.
Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve’s clarification comes after a newspaper accused French authorities of lacking transparency in their handling of the massacre.
Cazeneuve said Thursday that only local police, who are more lightly armed, were guarding the entrance to the Promenade des Anglais when Bouhlel drove a 19-metric ton (20-ton) truck onto the sidewalk in Nice before mowing down pedestrians who had gathered to watch a holiday fireworks show.
Cazeneuve then launched an internal police investigation into the handling of the Nice attack.
President Francois Hollande said the conclusions of that investigation will be known next week.