World News

Italy probes man who spoke to Nice attacker hours before massacre

BARI, Italy (Reuters) - Italian counter-terror officials are investigating a Tunisian living in the southern city of Bari who spoke to Nice attacker Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel hours before he killed 84 people, investigative sources said on Monday.

The man spoke with Bouhlel, who was also Tunisian, by telephone just hours before the delivery man ran down revelers at a Bastille Day celebration in Nice on Thursday with a 19-tonne refrigerator truck, sources said.

Italy’s anti-terror police and magistrates opened the probe at the request of French authorities, who had Bouhlel’s phone records, the sources said.

The two men had spoken several times in recent weeks, the sources said without giving further details.

Three people close to Bouhlel were arrested in Nice on Sunday. Four others arrested previously were still being held.

Islamic State has claimed the attack, calling Bouhlel one of its soldiers, but authorities have yet to produce evidence that the 31-year-old, who was shot dead by police, had any actual links to the militant group.

Reporting by Vincenzo Damiani; Writing by Steve Scherer; Editing by Tom Heneghan