Italian police confirmed Thursday they have arrested a man suspected of supplying weapons to the man who rammed a truck into a Bastille Day crowd in the southern French city of Nice in 2016, killing 86 people.
Endri Elezi, a 28-year-old Albanian, is suspected of “supplying weapons to Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel”, the Tunisian who carried out the attack on July 14, France’s Bastille Day national holiday, a police statement said.
He was picked up on Wednesday evening at Sparanise, near the southern Italian city of Naples, by officers acting on a European arrest warrant issued by the French authorities.
According to French sources, Elezi, known as “Gino”, is accused of providing Bouhlel with an assault rifle.
He is among eight people ordered last month by the Paris appeals court to stand trial for their alleged role in the 2016 attack. The trial will not take place until 2022.
Bouhlel was shot dead by police at the wheel of the vehicle he had used to kill people as they celebrated the holiday on Nice’s waterfront, wounding more than 400 people.
It came less than a year after the deadly assaults in November 2015 that saw 130 people killed in bombings and shootings across Paris including at the Bataclan concert hall.
The Islamic State group claimed responsibility for the Nice attack, although prosecutors said there was no evidence that Bouhlel had sworn allegiance to the jihadist group.
Under the terms of the European arrest warrant, Italy must hand over Elezi to the French authorities within 10 days if he does not object, otherwise within 60 days.