French President Francois Hollande said Friday’s lethal attack on the southern city of Nice was clearly a terrorist assault and that the state of emergency imposed since a previous attack on Paris last November would be extended for another three months.
Speaking after an emergency meeting in the early hours of Friday morning, Hollande said at least 77 people were killed in an attack in which the assailant drove a big truck at high speed into dense crowds who were watching a fireworks display on the country’s national Bastille Day holiday.
“There’s no denying the terrorist nature of this attack of yet again the most extreme form of violence,” the French leader said in a national television address at 4 am (0200 GMT), about five or six hours after the carnage in Nice.
He vowed to strengthen his country’s role in the fight against the Islamic State group in Iraq and Syria after the deadly attack on Nice, which has not been claimed by any group.
“Nothing will make us yield in our will to fight terrorism. We will further strengthen our actions in Iraq and in Syria. We will continue striking those who attack us on our own soil,” he said, in reference to the Islamic State group.
The Islamic State has repeatedly singled out France as a prime target, and the country has been under a state of emergency ever since the November 13 Paris attacks.
The Mediterranean city of Nice, with its pebble beaches and clear blue water, has been a magnet for sun-seekers and the jetset since the 19th century.