NEW DELHI: At least 80 people were killed in an attack in Nice, when a large truck plowed through a Bastille Day crowd in what French President Francois Hollande called a terror attack.

The driver of the truck first shot a gun into the crowd, then drove 2 kilometers along the Promenade des Anglais, the main street in Nice, mowing down people who had gathered for Bastille Day fireworks.

"We cannot deny that it was a terror attack," Hollande said in a national television address. A state of emergency that has been in place since November last year, when gunmen affiliated with the Islamic State killed 130 people in Paris, was extended. France has been on high alert since the Paris attacks. "All of France is under the threat of Islamic terrorism," Hollande said, adding that children were among those killed.

A video showing the aftermath of the attack has been posted to social media.

The French prime minister, Manuel Valls, has tweeted: “The city of Nice has been hit by terrorism on the day of our national holiday. Immense pain, the country is in mourning. The French will face it.”

The interior minister, Bernard Cazeneuve, in Nice, said: “We’re in a war with terrorists who want to hit us at any cost and in a very violent way.”

US President Barack Obama said, “On Bastille Day, we are reminded of the extraordinary resilience and democratic values that have made France an inspiration to the entire world, and we know that the character of the French Republic will endure long after this devastating and tragic loss of life.”

John Kerry, the US secretary of state, said in a statement: “Today’s horrendous attack in Nice is an attack against innocent people on a day that celebrates liberty, equality, and fraternity.

On behalf of all Americans, and especially the great many with close ties to France, I offer our deepest condolences to the friends and family of those who were killed and our hopes for a speedy recovery to those who were injured.

I was proud to stand alongside French leaders earlier today at Bastille Day celebrations in Paris, and the United States will continue to stand firmly with the French people during this time of tragedy. We will provide whatever support is needed.

Our embassy in Paris is making every effort to account for the welfare of US citizens in Nice. Any US citizens in Nice should contact friends and family directly to inform them of their wellbeing.”

The UN called the attack “cowardly and barbaric.”

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tweeted: “Canadians are shocked by tonight's attack in Nice. Our sympathy is with the victims, and our solidarity with the French people.”

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi condemned the attack saying, “Appalled by horrific Nice attack. I strongly condemn such mindless acts of violence. My thoughts are with the families of deceased.” “I hope injured recover soon. India shares pain & stands firmly with our French sisters & brothers in this hour of immense sadness,” the PM added.

No group as has yet claimed responsibility for the attack.

French media has identified that attacker as a 31-year-old French-Tunisian man. This identification remains unconfirmed. There has been no official comment on the identity of the attacker -- who was shot dead by police after firing a pistol several times. “At the moment that he was shot dead by police, he had fired several times,” said president of the region Christian Estrosi. A source close to the investigation said an “inactive” grenade was found inside the 19-tonne truck, as well as “several fake rifles” reports The Guardian.

This was corroborated by local newspaper Nice-Matin that reported the man had firearms and grenades in the lorry with him at the time of the attack. According to the AFP news agency, which quoted a police source, the man has been identified by papers found inside the cab of the lorry. The papers indicate the man was a resident of Nice, AFP reported.

(Photo: Reuters)