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#PrayForNice Trends across Social Media Following Terrorist Attack that Left 84 Dead, Scores Wounded

( [email protected] ) Jul 15, 2016 12:10 PM EDT
After a suspected Islamic extremist at the wheel of a heavy truck plowed into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in the French city of Nice, killing at least 84 people and injuring scores more, thousands across the world united on social media to offer their support, using the hashtag #PrayForNice.
A man reacts near bouquets of flowers near the scene where a truck ran into a crowd at high speed killing scores and injuring more who were celebrating the Bastille Day national holiday, in Nice, France, July 15, 2016. REUTERS/Pascal Rossignol

After a suspected Islamic extremist at the wheel of a heavy truck plowed into crowds celebrating Bastille Day in the French city of Nice, killing at least 84 people and injuring scores more, thousands across the world united on social media to offer their support, using the hashtag #PrayForNice.

"Jesus said, 'Blessed are those who mourn, For they shall be comforted.' (Matthew 5:4). #PrayforNice," tweeted evangelist Franklin Graham.

"I pray for those killed and injured in Nice, and I pray that God gives their families the strength to endure. We must defeat terrorism," wrote former Republican presidential candidate Dr. Ben Carson.

"Everyone please #PrayForNice, and pray for the world right now. My heart is crushed seeing these current events unfold. Be safe, be aware," wrote Vine star Cameron Dallas.

"Heartbroken for all those affected by this horrific attack. Love and prayers to the victims &families #PrayForNice," wrote American Idol contestant Mary Desmond.

According to Reuters, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, a 31-year-old Tunisian-born Frenchman, drove about 2 miles down the promenade on Thursday evening, and fired repeatedly at three policemen when they confronted him near a hotel

On Thursday, prosecutor François Molins revealed that the death toll remains 84, he says, and 202 people were injured including 52 who are now in critical care, according to The Guardian.

Bouhlel was not on the watch list of French intelligence services but was known to the police in connection with common crimes such as theft and violence. However, on social media, Islamic State supporters celebrated the high death toll, notes Reuters. 

In his speech, Molins suggested the gunman was motived by religion: "The terrorist who drove the truck as you know was shot to prevent him from committing more criminal action. They have managed to neutralize this person, thus avoiding further victims. I would also like to pay tribute to all state services who were mobilized following this attack."

The dead included several children, while the U.S. State Department said two American citizens had been killed. Russian student Viktoria Savchenko was also among the dead, according to the Moscow academy where she studied.

Molins revealed that authorities are now in the process of identifying the dead, "which is painful for the families of the victims. "All has been done to activate procedures during the attack."

On Friday, U.S. President Barack Obama condemned what he said "appears to be a horrific terrorist attack". Others joining him included German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Pope Francis, Spain, Sweden, NATO and the United Nations Security Council.

Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan also offered his condolences, stating, "For terrorist groups, there is no difference between Turkey and France, Iraq and Belgium, and Saudi Arabia and the United States."