Paris : A man who tried to halt the rampage of the truck driver who mowed down 86 people in Nice last year was among 22 citizens included on France’s New Year’s honours list Sunday.
Franck Terrier chased after the truck on his scooter as Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel ploughed along the Nice promenade on July 14, using the 19-tonne vehicle to crush people celebrating Bastille Day, France’s national holiday.
When Terrier drew up alongside the truck he clung onto the cab and punched the 31-year-old Tunisian through the open window but failed to bring him to a halt.
“I was ready to die,” the middle-aged airport worker, who received the Legion d’Honneur, France’s highest award, told Nice Matin newspaper at the time. Bouhlel was killed shortly afterwards in a shootout with police.
Alexandre Nigues, a cyclist who tried unsuccessfully to wrench open the door of the moving truck, also received the Legion d’Honneur, along with the two officers who chased the vehicle on foot and shot dead Bouhlel, ending his rampage.
Several doctors and firefighters also received awards for their assistance to the injured.
The massacre in Nice was the deadliest attack in Europe in 2016 and is believed to have served as a blueprint for the December 19 truck attack on a Christmas market in Berlin. Twelve people were killed in the Berlin rampage, the perpetrator of which — Anis Amri, also a Tunisian — had pledged allegiance to the ISIS group.
ISIS also claimed Bouhlel as one of its foot soldiers but never provided proof of his fealty to the group.