herald

Saturday 3 December 2016

Bono evacuated from restaurant near scene of brutal truck atrocity

Bono was in a restaurant in Nice when the attack began
Bono was in a restaurant in Nice when the attack began

U2 star Bono was caught up in the Bastille Day massacre and had to be evacuated from a Nice restaurant by French police.

The Dubliner (56) was eating next to the seafront in the French city when killer Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel drove a truck through a crowd on the seaside promenade, murdering 84 people including 10 children.

Following the attack, Bono and others dining in La Petite Maison were evacuated by police amid the fear and confusion in the area.

Attack

Speaking to French publication La Parisienne, Anne-Laure Rubi, the owner of the upmarket restaurant, said it was just an ordinary Bastille Day with customers sitting and looking at the Promenade des Anglais.

Ms Rubi explained: "Suddenly I see people running, without shouting. It is a silent panic. It was extraordinary."

Ms Rubi told La Parisienne magazine that "by reflex" she grabbed the arm of Christian Estrosi, the former Nice mayor, who was sitting close to Bono.

"He was on the phone. He didn't want to say much. I think he was just learning about the attack," she said.

Ms Rubi's staff pulled down the shutters, and instructed everybody to hide and remain calm, until the all clear was given.

One customer, who asked not to be named, said: "The situation was very confusing. We did not know what was happening.

"They heard rumours that snipers would be shooting out of a van.

"After half-an-hour, the police evacuated us," said the customer.

"Everyone came out onto Place Massena, under police protection."

Bono and his friends, like other customers, left the restaurant with their hands on their heads.

"When we go out, we still believe that there was a hostage, including one at the Meridien hotel, that people were still circulating [who] the police were looking for," said the customer.

Bono owns a home in the nearby town of Eze, and had been relaxing with friends when the atrocity started at around 10.30pm last Thursday.

Homage

This is not the first time that U2 have found themselves at the centre of a terror attack.

Last November, Bono and his band were rehearsing for a concert in Paris, when Islamic State operatives attacked the nearby Bataclan theatre, killing 89 people.

Rather than leave the French capital, the four U2 members made their way to the Bataclan the next morning, and paid their respects to the deceased.

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