Attack in Nice: Statement by President François Hollande
Paris, 15 July 2016
Horror has befallen France again. Tonight in Nice, a truck ran over a crowd that had gathered to watch the 14th July fireworks with the intention of killing, crushing and massacring people. As I speak, the toll stands at 77 victims, including many children, and around 20 very grievously injured. This attack, whose terrorist nature cannot be denied, once again shows absolute violence. It is clear that we must do everything to fight the scourge of terrorism. The truck driver has been shot down. At this stage we do not know if he had accomplices but we are acting so that his identification, which will be verified, may lead us to his eventual trail. France has been struck on the very day it was celebrating its national day, 14th July, the symbol of freedom, because human rights are denied by fanatics and France is necessarily their target. On behalf of our grieving nation, I express solidarity with the victims and their families. All means and resources have been deployed for providing assistance to the injured. The White Plan, which mobilises all the hospitals of the region, has been activated.
After Paris in January 2015, then November last year along with Saint-Denis, now it is Nice that has been struck. All of France is under the threat of Islamic terrorism. Therefore, in these circumstances, we must show absolute vigilance and unwavering determination.
Many measures have already been taken. Our legislative arsenal has been considerably strengthened. But as this is the summer season, we must enhance our level of protection even more. I have also decided, on the proposal of the Prime Minister and the ministers concerned – Defence and Home Affairs – that, first of all, we are going to maintain at a high level “Operation Sentinelle”, which enables us to mobilise 10,000 military personnel in addition to gendarmes and the police. I have also decided to draw on the operational reserve forces, that is, all those who have served under the French flag at some time or the other or have been in the gendarmerie, to provide relief to the police and the gendarmes. They will be deployed at all places they are needed, particularly for border checks. Lastly, I have decided that the state of emergency, which was due to end on 26th July, will be extended by three months. A Bill will be submitted to the Parliament by next week.
Nothing will make us give up the resolve to fight terrorism, and we will further reinforce our actions in Syria and Iraq and continue striking on those who precisely attack us on our own soil in their hideouts. I announced it this morning. A Defence Council meeting will be held tomorrow. It will examine all the measures we have already taken and that I have just announced, thus enabling us to deploy forces at all the places and cities that require protection and vigilance. After the Defence Council meeting, I will go to Nice with the Prime Minister to support the city, its elected representatives in this ordeal and to mobilise all necessary means. France is afflicted by this new tragedy. It is horrified by what has happened, by this monstrous act of using a truck to kill, deliberately kill, tens of people who had gathered simply to celebrate 14th July. France is grieving, it is distressed, but it is strong and it will always be stronger – I assure you – than the fanatics who today wish to attack it.