Fight against terrorism – Attack in Nice

Statement by François Hollande, President of the French Republic, Paris - July 15, 2016 - (Video in French)

“Horror… Horror has just descended on France once again.

As I speak, 77 people have sadly been killed, including several children, and some 20 people are in a critical condition. It cannot be denied that this was a terrorist attack and, once again, it was an extremely violent one, and it’s clear that we must do everything to ensure we can fight the scourge of terrorism.

The driver was shot dead. At this point we don’t know whether he had any accomplices, but we’re making sure that his identification, which is going to be confirmed, can put us onto any possible leads.
France was hit on its National Day, 14 July, the symbol of freedom, because human rights are denied by the fanatics, and because France is obviously their target.

On behalf of a nation in tears, I express our solidarity with the victims and their families.

All resources are being deployed to help the injured. The White Plan mobilizing all hospitals in the region has been triggered. After Paris in January 2015, then in November last year, along with Saint-Denis, now Nice, in turn, has been hit. The whole of France is under the threat of Islamist terrorism.

So in these circumstances, we must show absolute vigilance and unfailing determination.

Many measures have already been taken. Our legislative arsenal has been strengthened considerably. But because this is the summer season, we must further increase our level of protection.

So I’ve decided, at the Prime Minister’s proposal and together with the ministers concerned – the Defence and Interior Ministers – firstly that we’ll maintain Operation Sentinelle at a high level, which enables us to mobilize 10,000 soldiers, in addition to gendarmes and police.

I’ve also decided to call in operational reserves – i.e. all those who have at some point served under the flag or been in the gendarmerie – to come and help relieve the pressure on the police and gendarmes. We’ll be able to deploy them wherever we need them, particularly for border control.

Finally, I have decided that the state of emergency, which was to end on 26 July, will be extended by three months. A bill will be submitted to Parliament by next week.

Nothing will make us yield in our determination to combat terrorism, and we’re going to further intensify our strikes in Syria and Iraq. We’ll continue to hit those who attack us on our own soil, in their hideouts. I announced this yesterday morning.

A meeting of the Defence Council will be held tomorrow [on 15 July]. It will examine all the measures which we’ve already taken and which I’ve just announced. It will therefore enable all the necessary personnel to be deployed on every site and in every town and city where we need protection and vigilance.

Following this Defence Council meeting, I’ll go to Nice with the Prime Minister to support the city and its elected representatives in this ordeal and to mobilize all the necessary capabilities.

France is deeply distressed by over this new tragedy. It’s horrified by what has just happened, this monstrosity of using a lorry to kill, to deliberately kill dozens of people who had simply come to celebrate 14 July.

France is in tears, it’s deeply distressed, but it’s strong and will always be stronger – I assure you of that – than the fanatics who seek to attack it today.”

"France will not succumb to the terrorist threat" - Speech delivered by Manuel Valls, Prime Minister (Video in French)

“We have just held a restricted meeting of the Defense and Security Council, under the chairmanship and the authority of the head of state.

France has again been struck by a cowardly and inhuman act of terrorism. And our thoughts, at this very difficult time, are with the victims and all of the families affected by this unbearable tragedy; they are also with the city of Nice, to which we will travel shortly together with President Hollande.

Terrorism – and we have been saying this for a long time – poses a major threat to France, and this will continue to be the case for a long time. I already stated, unfortunately, that we could experience such events and that there would be further innocent victims.

We are waging a war against terrorism. The terrorists’ goal is to plant fear and panic. But France, as President Hollande reaffirmed yesterday, is a great country and a great democracy which will not allow itself to be destabilized.

As we stated a short time ago, providing support to the families and returning their loved ones’ remains, after identification, is of primary concern. All government agencies are mobilized to help the families and provide them with medical and psychological support, at this especially difficult time.

In conjunction with the operational management of the incident, under the authority of the prefect for the Alpes-Maritimes region and in immediate response to this attack, the following measures have, as you know, been approved:

The interministerial crisis cell has been activated.

The Vigipirate Plan has been raised to “attack alert” level in the department of Alpes-Maritimes.

The investigation has been referred to the counter-terrorism section of the public prosecutor’s office, and I would therefore like to reaffirm that all information relating to the investigation will be provided by the public prosecutor.

The Interministerial Victim Support Unit has been activated.

In addition, President Hollande – as he indicated to our compatriots last night – has decided to maintain Operation Sentinel at its highest level, and to call in the first level of operational reserves of the national gendarmerie. The additional personnel mobilized as a result of this will allow us to maintain a heightened level of vigilance and protection over the long term. The numbers, deadlines and arrangements are currently being finalized by the Directorate General of the National Gendarmerie.

Lastly, a bill extending the state of emergency for three more months will be presented to the Council of Ministers, after consultations with the Council of State, on Tuesday, so that Parliament can examine this text on Wednesday and Thursday. Here again, we must remain mobilized.

President Hollande has declared a period of national mourning for July 16, 17 and 18 in honor of the victims. Flags will be flown at half-staff on our public buildings from today.

Following the restricted meeting of the Defense and Security Council, we want to strongly emphasize to the French people: We will stand firm. France will not succumb to the terrorist threat. We have entered a new era; France will have to live with terrorism. And we must form a united front. This is President Hollande’s message. We must stand together, demonstrate composure, collectively.

France suffered losses once again on July 14, our national holiday. We wanted to bring the French nation together. So, the only dignified and responsible response on the part of France is one that will remain true to the spirit of July 14, i.e. that of a united France that rallies around its values. And we will stand shoulder to shoulder. That’s the only thing that matters now.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We will obviously have the opportunity throughout the day to provide a number of further details. As you know the minister of the interior and the minister of health have already arrived in Nice.

See you shortly, thank you.”

Published on 18/07/2016

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