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Two arrested in Nice over truck attack - judiciary source

Authorities have now detained seven people over the killings, claimed by Islamic State.

A man takes a pictures as the truck, riddled with bullets, that was driven by a man through a crowd celebrating Bastille Day is towed away by a breakdown lorry in the French Riviera city of Nice on 15 July 2016. Picture: AFP

PARIS - Police arrested a man and a woman in the French city of Nice on Sunday morning in connection with the truck attack that killed at least 84 people celebrating Bastille Day, a judiciary source said.

Authorities have now detained seven people over the killings, claimed by Islamic State.

The 31 year-old Tunisian killer, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, drove at the crowd in the Riviera city on Thursday night, zigzagging along the seafront Promenade des Anglais for two kilometers as a fireworks display marking the French national day ended, until police eventually shot him dead.

French authorities have yet to produce evidence that he had turned to radical Islam. Nevertheless, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve said Bouhlel may have undergone a rapid change.

At least 10 children were among the dead. Of the scores of injured, 25 were on life support, authorities said on Friday.

The 31-year-old was known to French police because of a history of threats, violence and theft. In Tunisia, family members and residents remembered him as sporty, distant, and not interested in religion.

"Mohamed was a very normal guy," said Hamadi Bouhlel, a cousin. "He did sports regularly, fitness training, and he was very arrogant. He didn't talk with all the other young guys in the neighbourhood."

Tunisia, a former French colony, has struggled with Islamist extremism since the uprising that toppled Zine El-Abidine Ben Ali in 2011, with many young Tunisians leaving to fight abroad.

Bouhlel, however, was not someone suspected by French or Tunisian authorities as having been radicalised, officials in both countries said.

A former neighbour who only gave his first name, Mansour, said Bouhlel did not go to the mosque and did not pray.

"He is from a large, normal family, not extremist at all," he said. "They're like the rest of us."

Ibrahim Bouhlel, a nephew, said his uncle never had money problems, and had told relatives days ago that he was planning a trip back to Tunisia for a family party.

Another ex-neighbour who had returned from Nice for a summer vacation and gave his name as Karim, said the attack felt like a "big betrayal".

"Thousands of people from Msaken live in Nice and make their living there. Is it normal for the country that gives us all that to be paid back in this way on their national holiday?"

Meanwhile, President Barack Obama on Friday angrily denounced suggestions from some Republican leaders that Muslims in America be "tested" after an attack in Nice, France, that killed at least 84 people, calling the idea "repugnant."

Obama did not explicitly link the attack to Islamic State militants who have been connected to other recent attacks around the globe, saying that the details were not yet clear. He vowed to continue to fight the group.

"These terrorists are targeting and killing innocent people of all backgrounds and all faiths, including Muslims. I know I speak for all of us when I say these individuals and these networks are an affront to all of our humanity," he said.