Nice terror trucker kills 2 Jews, injured at least 6

  • Nice Copeland HOME.
Jews hit in the Nice terror attack included a US father-and-son who were killed, two elderly French sisters who are still critically injured and at least five members of Chabad House in the city of 25 000 Jews. For the third year in a row French Jews making aliyah is sky-high and thousands more have made inquiries since the horrific attack. France has the second-highest Diaspora Jewish population in the world. Read the chilling accounts. Pictured are Texans Sean Copeland, 51, and his son Brodie, 11, who perished.
by ANT KATZ | Jul 17, 2016

A Jewish father and son on a family holiday were killed and two French Jewish sisters were critically injured at the Bastille Day event where an armed truck driver ploughed into the crowds, killing 84 people in Nice, France.

Texan Sean Copeland, 51, and his son Brodie, 11, were killed in the deadly truck attack while holidaying in Europe with their family. The Copeland family released a statement through Jess Davis, a close family friend.

Nice Copelands on holiday

RIGHT: By the time police had stopped the truck, 84 were dead or dying and several hundred injured - many of them critically

“We are heartbroken and in shock over the loss of Brodie Copeland, an amazing son and brother who lit up our lives, and Sean Copeland, a wonderful husband and father,” said the statement. “They are so loved.”

French sisters Clara Bensimon, 80, and Raymonde Mamane, 77, were both on respirators and in critical condition 24 hours after the attack, according to a local hospital. A friend of the sisters, who was with them during the rampage, is also in hospital in serious condition.

Nice ChabadAt least five more of those wounded in the attack are Jews, according to Rabbi Yossef Yitschok Pinson of Nice’s Chabad House.

LEFT: Rabbi Yossef
Yitschok Pinson

However, Pinson told JTA defiantly: “We will not let this affect us, we will not let fear affect or damage the life of our community.” Shul services and community events went on as planned.

Jewish favourite

Nice is the "capital" of the French Riviera, on the Mediterranean coast. The international tourist destination draws hundreds of thousands of local French tourists in summer, as well as many European and foreign Jews who come to Nice because it has a permanent Jewish population of 25 000 and provides kosher shops and many shuls.

But the full summer crowd has not yet arrived, Rabbi Pinson told JTA. “They usually come in August, then there are far more Jews in town,” he said.

Following the attack, Jewish groups joined other faith groups, heads of state and international organizations in condemning the attack.


Nice Copelands on holiday

ABOVE: Idyllic holiday ended in death for Sean Copeland, far left, and his son Brodie, centre. And it left the remaining family members devastated (PIC: Copeland family, via Austin Statesman-Herald)

The Copeland family are from Lakeway, some 30 km northwest of Austin, Texas. They were on a European holiday that began in Spain with the running of the bulls in Pamplona. “Then on to flamenco dancing in Barcelona and they had been celebrating Bastille Day in Nice when this unthinkable act of terror took Sean and Brodie from the world far too soon,” family spokesman Davis said.

“It is a terrible loss.” The US State Department had said that two Americans were among the at least 84 people killed, but he didn’t identify them citing privacy. Davis said the surviving Copeland family members remain in Nice and are “overwhelmed and don’t want to deal with media inquiries”.

The Austin American-Statesman reported that Sean Copeland was vice president of an Austin software company.

Heather Copeland, Brodie’s cousin and Sean’s niece, took to Twitter to express grief and post pictures of the father-son duo. “I just please ask for prayers for my family and all of the others [who] were killed in France,” she wrote.

Nice CopelandsAnd in a longer message alongside two pictures of her uncle and cousin, she wrote: “I don’t even know how to put this in words. Today was a very [tragic] day for my family.”

RIGHT: Brodie Copeland played youth baseball and his dad coached the team (PIC: Twitter, via Heather Copeland)

“My uncle Sean and my cousin Brodie Copeland were killed today in a terrorist attack in Nice France while they were on vacation,” wrote Heather.

“A huge box truck ran over and killed 80-plus people and injured over 100. Please keep my family and all the other [families] affected by the tragic event that occurred tonight in your prayers. #PrayForNice #PrayersForFrance.”

2km long trail of blood and body parts


“The truck left a trail of blood as it tore through the crowd,” said Chabad Rabbi Pinson, citing eyewitness testimonies. One witness to the attack was “deeply traumatised by what she saw”, he said. “Body parts, people screaming, blood everywhere and very, very difficult sights.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said in a statement that Israel “condemns in the strongest terms last night’s horrific attack in Nice”.

Israelis, he added, “stand united with the people of France today” and “Israel is ready to help the French government fight this evil until it is defeated”.

European Jewish Congress President Moshe Kantor spoke of his outrage, as well as “pain and sadness,” following the attack.

French aliyah expected to rise after attack reports that The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews (The Fellowship), a humanitarian organisation, which has been helping French Jews make aliyah, is receiving thousands of inquiries from French Jews who want to immigrate to Israel and is expecting that figure to grow after Thursday’s terror attack in Nice.

Nice Rabbi EcksteinOver the past two years, France has showed the biggest percentage growth in aliyah.

LEFT: Rabbi Yechiel Eckstein, founder and president of The International Fellowship of Christians and Jews

The Fellowship has reported  more  than 5 000 phone calls and hundreds of e-mails from French Jews asking about aliyah in recent months.

The organisation brought 82 French Jews to Israel in June and is preparing to bring more than 150 others this month, including several families from Nice.

Coincidentally, French Jews were attending a Fellowship-organised aliyah meeting in Nice just one block away from the site as the terrorist drove a truck into a crowd of people celebrating Bastille Day.

Many French Jews have described a high level of anti-Semitism in their country, in addition to the growing threat of terror affecting all of Europe.

“Sadly, this horrific attack underscores the pressing need to help bring as many Jews who wish to leave France to their homeland in Israel,” said Rabbi Eckstein, “and this is what we will continue to do.”

Gan Israel camp counsellors just escaped reported that a group of Chabad camp counsellors narrowly escaped the terror attack in Nice. Staff of Chabad’s Gan Israel day camp were at the scene of the terror attack just moments before a truck driver smashed into a crowd and mowed down so many over a 2 kilometer stretch before police were able to stop him.

Nice Copeland HOME.

try to help

The group of camp counsellors escaped harm as they had crossed the street just seconds before the carnage began.

“They had to run from the truck. It was just a few feet away from them,” said Rabbi Yossef Yitschok Pinson, director of Chabad House.

Nice Chabad1

More Jews may be lost

Six Jews were reported to be among those missing or injured in the attack according to the website, which listed four of them by their Hebrew names and names of their mother (as is the custom when one is praying for someone who is sick): Axel ben Yael, Moshe ben Yaakov,Clara bat Nouna and Yonathan ben Zuzy.

RIGHT: Rabbi Yossef Yitschok Pinson
ministered to all of the wounded 

Also by Sunday two more Jews were listed among the known seriously injured or missing. That are John Dray and Dominique Azan.

No faith was left unscathed in the horrific attack. Fatima Charrihi's son told French news media that his mother was a devout Muslim. 
"She wore the veil but practiced a true Islam -- not the terrorist version," Hamza Charrihi was quoted as saying by the newspaper L'Express.

  • France has the second largest Diaspora Jewish community numbering some 475,000 practicing and 600,000 who are Jewish by extraction.

1 Comment

  1. 1 nat cheiman 18 Jul
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