French presidential contender Alain Juppe on Friday said the truck attack that killed 84 people in Nice could have been avoided if “all measures” had been taken, as questions mounted over failings by intelligence services.
While France’s political class rallied together after attacks in November 2015 that killed 130 people in Paris and on the Charlie Hebdo magazine and a Jewish supermarket in January 2015, criticism of the Socialist government began hours after Thursday’s carnage in the French Riviera city.
“I am not an investigator. [But] if all measures had been taken, the tragedy last night would not have happened,” Juppe, a former Right-wing prime minister, told RTL radio.
“Of course more must be done and done better. A start would be the intelligence services,” the mayor of Bordeaux added.
A French parliamentary inquiry last week criticised numerous failings by the intelligence services over both sets of terror attacks in Paris last year.
Witnesses said a truck drove at speed for 2 kmph through people watching a fireworks display on France’s national day in Nice.
France’s Socialist President Francois Hollande previously described the attack on the palm tree-lined Promenade des Anglais as being of an “undeniable terrorist nature”.
“We know of course that there are still flaws and shortcomings. The parliamentary inquiry after the November attacks showed that,” he said, referring to the report criticising France’s response to the attacks.
“Government intervention is imperative in that area in order to better coordinate our intelligence services,” he added.
Juppe, who is a leading contender to be the Right’s candidate for the presidency in 2017, also called for a thorough probe into the attack.
“We must first shed light on the circumstances of this tragedy to the extent possible. I am not seeking to blame anyone at this stage naturally,” he said.