Bouhlel ploughed a truck into crowds celebrating Bastille Day on the French Riviera, in what President Francois Hollande called a terrorist act by an enemy determined to strike all nations that share France's values. Small areas were screened off and what appeared to be bodies covered in blankets were visible through the gaps.

Witnesses told how people were "flying like bowling pins" as the driver went on the rampage.

Images show the windscreen of the lorry riddled with bullet holes. Last month, a 29-year-old security guard killed 49 people and wounded 53 others at a gay nightclub in Orlando. The motorcyclist fell to the ground, coming within inches of being struck by truck tires that partly crushed the motorcycle, but got up and briefly climbed aboard the side of the accelerating truck before jumping off again.

"I saw his face", Lambert told The Associated Press.

Police identified the attacker as Mohamed Bouhlel (pronounced "boo-lel"), a 31-year-old Nice resident, and said he had drawn a gun on them.

Following Thursday's attack, Hollande said the imposition was being extended for three months instead of concluding this month as was planned.

Described by his neighbors as a handsome but frightening man, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel, who killed at least 84 people in the French city of Nice by driving his truck into a crowd late on Thursday, was convicted only once before: for road rage. "They brought water for the injured and towels, which they placed on those for whom there was no more hope". "He would stare at the children a lot", he added.

Outside the family home - a two-storey, whitewashed compound in the Tunisian town of M'saken - Monthir Bouhlel was at a loss to understand how his son could have taken such a wrong turn.

- At 7:30 am (0530 GMT) the interior ministry raises the casualty toll to at least 84 dead, along with 18 people in critical condition and about 50 others with less serious injuries.

With many still searching for news of their loved ones after the attack, a Facebook site called "SOS Nice" attracted posts Friday from people hoping to be reunited with missing relatives.

On the other hand, as Eleanor reports, authorities say "this attack could fit the mold of an individual attacker".

According to Israel's Channel 2 television, the arrest of the unnamed woman came as part of efforts to determine the motive behind the attack, as well as assist in the hunt for possible accomplices. They fired back and pursued the truck as it continued on for another 300 meters (yards) to the Palais de la Mediterranee Hotel.

Nathalie Goulet, a French senator who headed a commission investigating jihadi recruitment networks, said such attacks are hard to prevent but questioned whether France could be doing more.

Islamic State has claimed it carried out the attack in statement carried by group's media outlet on Saturday. It maintains a secular culture that allows no place for religion in schools and civic life, which supporters say encourages a common French identity but critics say contributes to alienation in some communities.

The Paris attack in November was the bloodiest among a number in France and Belgium in the past two years.

In Washington, the U.S. State Department confirmed that two Americans were among the dead and President Barack Obama condemned what "appears to be a horrific terrorist attack". It has seen dozens of its Muslim residents travel to Syria to fight.

The French administrative department of Alpes-Maritimes, of which Nice is the capital, said at the end of a year ago that 236 individuals had been monitored over several months as part of a surveillance program and that it was tracking five new individuals every week.