Only eight months since the Jihadi attacks of November 13 in Paris and Saint-Denis, France is again forced to face the terrorist nightmare. It happened along the “Promenade des Anglais” in Nice, that had been closed to vehicles for the national celebrations of July 14.
That was where an appalling tragedy took place: a white truck plunged into the crowd, many families among them. People started screaming, crying and running away. It was total chaos. “All of a sudden we saw people flying in the air”, said the witnesses who immediately realized that a truck running at full speed against the crowd could only be “a deliberate act of terrorism.” In a speech to the nation French President François Hollande announced three-month extension to state of emergency that was supposed to last until July 26.
At least 84 dead. Sadly, many children are among the victims, said President Hollande. There are dozens of casualties, 18 of whom are fighting for their life in intensive care. Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, who reached the site of the attack, shared investigation details.
The 14-ton truck broke through the security ring and plowed into the crowd over a distance of 2 km, before being stopped by the police near Nice’s Palais de la Méditerranée. At the moment that he was shot dead by police, the truck driver had fired several times. Guns, granades, were said to have been found inside the truck by sources near investigating authorities. Accordingly, in the truck was also found the identity card of a 31-year-old French-Tunisian, with home address in Nice, who witnesses heard shouting “Allah akbar” several times before being shot to death.
The immediate reactions of a large part of the international community. The Pope has followed during the night, with the greatest concern, the terrible news which has come from Nice,” said the Director of the Holy See Press Office, Father Federico Lombardi. “We want to make known, on the part of Pope Francis and ourselves, our sharing and solidarity in the suffering of the victims and all the French people, in what was supposed to be a great day of celebration,
“We condemn in an absolute manner every manifestation of homicidal folly, hatred, terrorism, and attacks against peace.”
The French Bishops’ words of shock and solidarity. The Secretary General of the French Bishops’ Conference Monsignor Olivier Ribadeau Dumas, wrote: “National solidarity will be stronger than terrorism. Our prayers go to the victims and to their families.”
La solidarité nationale sera plus forte que le terrorisme. Notre prière rejoint toutes les victimes et leurs proches. #Nice
— O.RIBADEAU DUMAS (@ORDUMAS) July 15, 2016
In a statement issued a few hours after the attack, the bishops added: “This tragedy deepens the sad list of terrorist attacks that have plunged our Country and other countries of the world into mourning for many months. No matter the matrix, this barbarity is unacceptable, intolerable. Our Country has been mortally wounded at a moment of national unity. ” On Sunday, July 17, the churches of France will pray for the victims and their loved ones.
During the night, in a joint statement, France’s Muslim Faith Council (CFCM) and the Great Mosque in Paris condemned the “heinous and abject” attack, “designed to hurt our country on the day of the national holiday that celebrates values of liberty, equality and fraternity.”
Paris’ Mosque and the Muslim Council asked Muslims to pray for the people of Nice in Friday prayers “in memory of the victims of this barbaric attack.”