French President Francois Hollande says the Bastille Day truck attack that killed dozens and injured 100 others in Nice has all the elements of a terrorist attack
French President Francois Hollande says the Bastille Day truck attack that killed dozens and injured 100 others in Nice has all the elements of a terrorist attack.
“Nothing will make us give way in the fight against terrorism,” Hollande said, addressing the nation early Friday. He cited the attacks in Paris last November, saying all of France is under the threat of Islamic State. “France as a whole is under the threat of Islamic terrorism. We have to demonstrate absolute vigilance and show determination that is unfailing.”
The dead attacker, named as a 31-year-old French-Tunisian who lived in Nice, has not been confirmed to be working for Islamic State. President Hollande said authorities will continue to confirm his identity.
Hollande also said the state of emergency, set to end later this month, will be extended another three months and 10,000 extra military forces will be maintained following the attack. He also said France will strengthen its roles in Syria and Iraq.
The driver steered his speeding truck into a crowd in Nice Thursday night at a celebration of Bastille Day, France’s independence holiday.
France’s Interior Ministry put the death toll at at least 77 and said the driver was “neutralized,” meaning he was shot to death by police. Officers later found the truck had been carrying explosives, grenades and other weapons.
French news reports said the Paris prosecutor’s office, which handles major terrorism cases, had been put in charge of the investigation. Nice, France’s fifth-largest city and the capital of the Cote d’Azur region, was put on lockdown by security forces in case further attacks might be planned.
U.S. President Barack Obama condemned the “horrific terrorist attack” and the slaughter of innocent civilians, and he directed U.S. officials to offer all assistance possible to French authorities.
Government officials in Nice said many police officers were among the dead. At least 15 of the survivors were said to be in critical condition.
Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. Embassy in Paris was working to account for the welfare of U.S. citizens in Nice. The American consulate in Marseille said it was trying to “determine if any U.S. citizens were injured in the event.”
In the U.S., Democratic presidential candidate Hillary Clinton said the attack made her “sick at heart.” Her Republican opponent, Donald Trump, called the attack “horrible” and said he was postponing plans to announce his vice presidential running mate on Friday.
French police said they were checking to see whether anyone else at the scene might have been involved in the plot. Video from Nice showed armed police vainly chasing the truck on foot as it raced along a seaside promenade, running down people who had been heading home after a Bastille Day fireworks display.
The truck’s windshield was punctured by a volley of bullets, apparently fired by police, but some witnesses said the driver opened fire before he set out on his fatal ride along a two-kilometer stretch of pavement.
source: VOA News