ISIS this week claimed responsibility for an attack that authorities now say was perpetrated by a man the terrorist group would ordinarily want to violently murder, not champion.
According to reports, Mohamed Bouhlel, the man who drove a truck into a Bastille Day parade in Nice, killing at least 84 people, was actually bisexual. In a stunning turn of events, ISIS—which ordinarily puts gay and bisexual men to death—apparently did not vet its latest hero before reflexively claiming responsibility for his actions.
There’s no evidence to indicate Bouhlel, who was Muslim, was actually operating on behalf of or in allegiance to ISIS, though friends and family say he had recently become radicalized. But authorities say there is evidence that he lived life openly as a bisexual man. Via Newsweek:
According to France’s BFMTV, investigators have gleaned that Bouhlel—who left at least 84 people dead in the French city—had a busy sex life, with pictures of both female and male conquests on his phone. Bisexuality, or homosexuality, is forbidden in Islam, although interviews with Bouhlel’s friends and relatives in Nice have revealed that he did not behave, at least until recently, like a devout Muslim.
Another woman told the paper he was a man “who flirted with anything that moved.”
And maybe he was radicalized—some foreign reports indicate he had been approached by an ISIS recruiter in the weeks leading up to the attack. Or maybe he was simply an unstable man strung out on steroids. Perhaps both. Prosecutors tell The Local Bouhlel had a history of “threats, violence, theft and acts of criminal damage,” and suffered a nervous breakdown that spanned several years. When his wife left him, a neighbor says, he went crazy.
“He defecated everywhere, he cut up his daughter’s teddy bear and slashed the mattress,” the neighbor said. “I don’t think there was a radicalisation issue, I think there was a psychiatric problem.”
Behold—the current face of ISIS.