Posted 17 Jul 2016 CNA
Investigators continue at the scene near the heavy truck that ran into a crowd at high speed killing scores who were celebrating the Bastille Day July 14 national holiday on the Promenade des Anglais in Nice, France, July 15, 2016. REUTERS/Eric Gaillard
TUNIS: The 31-year-old Tunisian who killed 84 people by driving a truck through a Bastille Day crowd in Nice on Thursday (Jul 15) spent years seeing psychologists before leaving Tunisia for France in 2005, his sister said.
"My brother had psychological problems, and we have given the police documents showing that he had been seeing psychologists for several years," Rabeb Bouhlel, Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel's sister, told Reuters.
Bouhlel's father told French television that the family had sought medical treatment after his son had a breakdown.
"He had psychological problems that caused a nervous breakdown; he would become angry, shout, break everything around him," Mohamed Mondher Lahouaiej Bouhlel told the TF1 and France 2 channels. "We had to take him to the doctor."
Bouhlel, who was shot dead by police, was from Msaken, about 120 km (75 miles) south of Tunis, and had last visited the town four years ago.
Former neighbours and relatives there expressed shock at the Nice attack, describing Bouhlel as sporty, uninterested in religion and from a regular family.
Rebab, Bouhlel's sister, said her brother had not been in the habit of calling the family. "But recently, over the past month, he was calling us every day and he sent us money ... He called several times a day."
Ibrahim Bouhlel, a nephew, said his uncle had never had money problems, and had told relatives this week that he was planning a trip back to Tunisia for a family party.
Rebab and Ibrahim Bouhlel said there was no sign of unusual behaviour or Islamist radicalisation when he called.
French investigators have not disclosed any direct evidence linking Bouhlel with jihadism, although the militant group Islamic State claimed responsibility for the attack on Saturday.
TF1 and other French media quoted people close to Bouhlel as saying he ate pork and drank alcohol, behaviour that would be unlikely in a devout Muslim.
(Additional reporting by Michel Rose in Paris; Writing by Aidan Lewis; Editing by Kevin Lif