Two months after a truck driver murdered 86 people along the Nice seafront as France celebrated Bastille Day, eight people were arrested by police Monday and Tuesday in connection to the attack.
The attacker, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, was originally thought to have acted alone but the recent wave of police action shows he had plenty of support and French prosecutor Francois Molins said that the attack came following months of planning. The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the terror in July.
Before the most recent arrests, six men had been investigated in connection to the crime for either providing a firearm or with logistical support. The newly arrested suspects are said to be of French and Tunisian descent, according to the Associated Press. Bouhlel died in a shootout with police.
The arrests coincided with ceremonies held Monday to remember the 229 victims of terrorist attacks in France since the beginning of 2015. One family member of three victims of the Bastille Day attacks, Yasmine Bouzegan Marzouk, said during a speech in Paris that “these barbarians have no law, no faith, no religion,” according to the BBC.
Marzouk, who is Muslim, said that her 13-year-old relative was killed in Nice.
“The life of a child who had such a promising future was snatched away. He was brought up in the Muslim faith, which says we should respect others and show tolerance,” Marzouk said, according to the BBC.
The string of terror attacks — which have included attacks at Paris cafes and concert halls, at the offices of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and others — have highlighted tensions between France and its Muslim community. A recent poll showed that nearly 30 percent of the three to four million Muslims living in the country do not agree with secular laws there and believe that the Islamic legal code, Sharia Law, is more important than those of the country, according to France24.
Meanwhile, French communities received international scrutiny recently for banning burkinis, which are worn by Muslim women while swimming and cover most of their bodies. The swimwear is an extension of the burqa, a Muslim face covering that is banned in France.