French police have arrested seven people in connection with Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel’s terrorist attack in Nice, six of whom are reportedly still in custody. It has emerged that Bouhlel sent a series of texts to accomplices, or at a minimum to people who knew what he intended to do. The texts said things like “Bring more weapons. Bringing in 5,” and “It’s good. I have the equipment,” according to French television.
The authorities are also investigating Bouhlel’s associates in Tunisia, where he grew up before moving to France as a young man. Bouhlel reportedly was “thrilled” by the 2015 Islamic terrorist attack at Sousse, where 38 tourists were murdered on the beach, and authorities are looking into whether Bouhlel’s friends were among those who assisted Seifiddine Rezgui Yacoubi, the electrical engineering student–what else?–who carried out the Sousse massacre.
It also appears that Bouhlel’s brother may be a radical, if multiple selfies with shotguns are any indication. One of Mohamed’s brothers–I am not sure whether it is the same one–says that Mohamed had a considerable sum of money, approximately $150,000 in the bank “through selling phones.” If Mohamed really did have that sort of cash on hand, the police no doubt will be interested in where it came from.
In short, while Mohamed Boulel seems to have been a disturbed individual, early claims that he was unconnected to the broader world of Muslim extremism are turning out to be untrue.