Authorities in France are determined to delve deeper and verify the background of 31-year-old terrorist Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, who drove a truck through revellers during Bastille Day celebrations in Nice on 14 July, killing 84 people. Although Islamic State (Isis) has claimed responsibility for the mass murder, investigators are of the view that at present there was no "ideological motivation" for the Tunisia national to carry out the attack.
Since the attack was reportedly premeditated, it is clear that it was indeed a jihadi operation, but what investigators know of Bouhlel as far, it seems too far-fetched to declare that he was radicalised by IS (Daesh).
According to reports, the father of three, "...was no Muslim, ate pork, drank alcohol and took drugs." He was not even seen at any of the local mosques nor did he fast during Ramadan. Moreover, he had a few minor criminal offences against him. Now, authorities wonder whether such a man could have been radicalised to perpetrate such an act. Apart from lack of piety, there are numerous other factors that confuse prosecutors about IS' strategy in carrying out such attacks.
The terrorists involved in the recent attacks in France, have had a similar background, but what is puzzling is that this contradicts the ideology of the Islamist group. Experts are also astonished over the background of the attackers. The Guardian quoted French scholar Olivier Roy, currently at the University of Europe in Florence, as saying that the men that IS targets to radicalise are already "in nihilist, generational revolt".
He elaborated that these men are not brainwashed nor are they radicalised, but are given a cause that creates anger within them to carry out attacks. However, his theory is not approved by all as some claimed that there are many more reasons like the "intolerant and reactionary doctrines on Muslim communities in the west".
Bouhlel's case will be studied by academics and counter-terrorism experts, who would determine the "range and extent of his contacts with other people" and ascertain whether he suffered from serious mental stress to have been driven to carry out such an act, or whether he was self inspired to kill innocent people.