Wales politics

Nice attack: Cardiff University student 'froze' as lorry neared

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Media caption Imad Dafaaoui: "I was feeling that I'm going to die."

A Cardiff University student has described his brush with death during the lorry attack that killed 84 people in the French city of Nice.

Some 202 people were injured, 52 of them critical, after the 19-tonne vehicle was driven into a crowd celebrating Bastille Day on Thursday.

Imad Dafaaoui said if he had not jumped over a bench, he would have been hit.

Around Wales, flags were flying at half mast and a vigil for the victims was held outside the Senedd in Cardiff Bay.

Mr Dafaaoui, who is from Morocco, said he "froze" when he saw the lorry driving along the Promenade des Anglais before he started running towards the beach.

However, his path ahead was blocked by a bench.

After jumping over it and landing on a woman on the floor, he said: "I just closed my eyes and waited for the crash.

"I was feeling that I'm going to die. I was feeling really, really scared. I didn't know what to do. I just gave up at that moment."

He said the sound of the lorry colliding with the bench was "scary".

"I looked at it and I found it destroyed so it was really, really close," he said.

He also told ABC News that the lorry had been just 20cm away from him.

"I was just waiting to die," he added.

Image copyright National Assembly for Wales

After news of the attack emerged, flags at the National Assembly and Welsh Government buildings were flown at half mast.

First Minister Carwyn Jones said on Twitter he was "truly shocked at the appalling events".

He added: "My thoughts are with all the victims and their families involved."

The National Assembly of Wales' presiding officer, Elin Jones, said: "Our thoughts are with the victims and families of this horrific attack in Nice."

The Senedd building was lit in the colours of the French flag on Friday evening.

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Media captionFrench honorary consul Marie Brousseau-Navarro: 'It's emotionally difficult'

Earlier, a vigil was held on the Senedd steps, led by French honorary consul Marie Brousseau-Navarro.

She said the French community in Wales, following three terrorist attacks, was "in a difficult place".

She thanked people in Wales for their "support and solidarity".

"We are hurt and in mourning again," she said.

Image caption Welsh Government's headquarters in Cathays Park, Cardiff, on Friday

Welsh Conservative leader Andrew RT Davies said: "The attacks we have witnessed overnight in Nice were horrific, and we share the pain of a country still recovering from similarly shocking attacks in Paris last year.

"We stand shoulder to shoulder with our friends in France as they attempt to recover from these tragic events, and our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families."

Image copyright AP
Image caption The inquiry is being handled by anti-terror investigators

Nathan Gill, UKIP Wales leader, also tweeted: "Truly awful news coming from France. I can't imagine what the families are going through now."

Kirsty Williams, Liberal Democrat AM, said: "The pictures and reports from Nice are truly heartbreaking and horrifying."

Plaid Cymru leader Leanne Wood said: "Plaid Cymru expresses sympathy and solidarity with everyone affected by the terrible attack in Nice."

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Media captionWelsh Secretary Alun Cairns: 'Our thoughts and prayers with people in Nice'

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