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Nice, France • A truck drove on to the sidewalk and plowed through a crowd of revelers who'd gathered to watch the fireworks in the French resort city of Nice in what officials and eyewitnesses described as a deliberate attack. There appeared to be many casualties.

A spokesman for France's Interior Ministry says there are likely to be "several dozen dead." Pierre-Henry Brandet told BFM TV: "it's going to be a very high toll."

The president of the Nice regional council also gave a similar number.

Sylvie Toffin, a press officer with the local prefecture, said the truck "hit several people on a long trip" down the sidewalk near Nice's Palais de la M├ęditerranee, a building which fronts the beach.

Wassim Bouhlel, a Nice native who spoke to the AP nearby, said that he saw a truck drive into the crowd.

"There was carnage on the road," Bouhlel said. "Bodies everywhere."

Bouhlel said he witnessed the man emerge with a gun and start shooting, but Toffin said she that, "to my knowledge" there was no gunfire.

She confirmed the incident was deliberate.

"It's an attack," she said. She said she did not have casualty figures.

It was not immediately clear who would have been behind the attack, but France has recently seen a spate of dramatic assaults from by jihadist groups, including the Islamic State group which straddles Iraq and Syria.