French President Francois Hollande has condemned the Bastille Day truck attack in Nice that killed 80 and injured 50 more, saying the country is “under the threat of Islamist terrorism” but that it will prevail.
“Horror again has struck France,” Hollande said in a Friday morning speech carried with an English translation on CNN. “France has been struck on the day of her national holiday, the 14th of July, Bastille Day, the symbol of liberty, because human rights are denied by fanatics and France is quite clearly their target.”
Hollande said the truck driver had been shot and killed and that officials are trying to determine if there were accomplices.
The French president, who called the attack “an absolute horror,” linked it to two earlier terrorist attacks in Paris in 2015. “After Paris in January 2015 and then in November of last year in Saint-Denis, Nice is in turn touched. France as a whole is under the threat of Islamist terrorism. In these circumstances, we have to demonstrate absolute vigilance and show determination that is unfailing.”
The French president, who took no questions, called for “solidarity” with victims and their families and said he would pursue a three-month extension of a national state of emergency that is scheduled to expire late this month.
Hollande will convene a previously announced defense council and then travel to Nice to support the coastal city.
“We’re going to strengthen and reinforce our actions in Syria and Iraq and continue to confront those who are attacking us on our very soil,” he said. “France is afflicted but she is strong and she will always be stronger than the fanatics who want to strike her today.”