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Fight against terrorism – Attack in Nice

Fight against terrorism – Attack in Nice

Published on July 15, 2016
Statements by the French authorities and U.S. officials.

• Joint communiqué issued by the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of the Interior. (Paris, July 17, 2016)
• Statements by François Hollande, President of the French Republic. (Paris - July 15, 2016)
• "France will not succumb to the terrorist threat" - Speech delivered by Manuel Valls, Prime Minister (Paris - July 15, 2016)
• Honoring the victims of the attack in Nice, France, by Barack Obama, President of the United States of America. (Nice, July 15, 2016)
• Statement by Secretary of State John Kerry on the Attack in Nice. (Nice, July 14, 2016)

Joint communiqué issued by the Prime Minister’s Office and the Ministry of the Interior

Paris, July 17, 2016

In the face of the terrorism that struck us once again on 14 July in Nice, the French President has recalled the need for national unity and our country’s determination to defeat jihadist barbarity.

M. Manuel Valls, Prime Minister, and M. Bernard Cazeneuve, Interior Minister, would like to give the following details of the action the government has been taking since 2012 to combat this scourge.

Contrary to what the President of the party The Republicans said this evening, no government until now has done so much to combat terrorism.

We shall be responding, first of all, with a total mobilization of our forces, increasing the number of personnel – 9,000 police and gendarme jobs created over the whole of the five-year term, 1,900 of them to strengthen domestic intelligence, whereas 12,500 were cut between 2007 and 2012. The Interior Minister has also set in motion a new national blueprint for the intervention of forces throughout the country and modernized the way first responders – police from the BAC [anti-crime brigade] and gendarmes from the PSIG [monitoring and intervention platoons] – are equipped and armed. This has been made possible by a 17% increase in operational allocations for the domestic security forces, which was reduced by the same amount in the previous five-year term. The intelligence services have been reformed through the creation of the DGSI [Directorate-General for Internal Security], the SCRT [Central Territorial Intelligence Agency] and an operational counter-terrorism headquarters that coordinates policy for preventing radicalization and monitors the quality of follow-up of radicalized individuals. The database for reporting people radicalized into terrorism, created in 2015, enables 12,000 individuals to be permanently monitored.

We are also responding by adapting our legal tools. Three anti-terrorist acts and an intelligence act have been adopted in the course of the five-year term. An initial anti-terrorist act adopted in December 2012 enables French nationals to be tried for their participation in terrorist offences committed abroad. This act, combined with the work of our police and intelligence services, has already enabled nearly 300 sets of judicial proceedings to be initiated against more than 1,200 of our citizens implicated in jihadist networks. A second anti-terrorist act, adopted on 13 November 2014, created a ban on leaving the country, a ban on entering the country, and the closure and dereferencing of terrorist propaganda websites. The act of 3 June 2016 stepping up the fight against organized crime, terrorism and their financing now enables special investigation methods to be used in the preliminary investigation stage which were hitherto reserved for the judicial investigation, such as bugging private locations, the use of IMSI-catchers and a more widespread use of night-time searches. The act also establishes genuine life sentences for the perpetrators of terrorist crimes and toughens the conditions for detention on remand and for sentence adjustments. All these measures have been applicable since the act was promulgated. Finally, the Savary Act of 22 March 2016 also increased the level of transport security.

We shall also be responding with resolute action to prevent radicalization. As early as 2014, a comprehensive plan to combat jihadist networks was launched, with – among other things – the creation of a hotline for families that has already enabled more than 5,000 individuals to be identified and many departures to be prevented. The fight against radicalization is a fully-identified priority, and on 9 May the government announced a comprehensive plan of 80 measures to combat radicalization and terrorism, in particular with the creation of one rehabilitation and citizenship centre per region by the end of 2017.
The first rehabilitation and citizenship centre will open in Indre-et-Loire on 1 September.

We shall be responding at European level. Under France’s impetus, European bodies have adopted essential measures: a modification of Article 7-2 of the Schengen Code enabling controls to be stepped up at the EU’s external borders, the creation of a European Border and Coast Guard, the revision of the Firearms Directive and the adoption of the PNR [Passenger Name Record].

The government is being extremely firm against radical Islamist discourse: since 2012, 80 expulsion measures have been issued against hate preachers and false, self-proclaimed imams. Ten radicalized mosques and prayer rooms have been closed. None were closed during the previous five-year term. As for the En Nour mosque in Nice, it was not the préfet [high-ranking civil servant representing the state] but the courts that decided to open it, sanctioning Nice city council’s failures with regard to legal rules. We are, indeed, a country where the rule of law applies.

The government paid the closest attention to the question of rétention administrative (1). Either an isolated individual plans to carry out an act collectively or individually, in which case a prison sentence for terrorism-related criminal offences applies, rather than rétention administrative; or there is no evidence justifying a terrorist risk (the S-file is a warning, an intelligence tool, but not evidence) and consequently the [planned] measure to restrict freedom cannot be implemented because it does not comply with constitutional and European rules, pursuant to Article 66. Furthermore, in its decision of 17 December 2015 on this subject, issued at the government’s request, the Conseil d’Etat (2) very clearly stated that: “outside of any criminal proceedings, the detention of persons posing radicalization risks is not permitted constitutionally or conventionally”. Our constitution guarantees public freedoms: arbitrary decisions are unconstitutional. Above all, they are neither acceptable nor effective.

Moreover, since 3 June 2016 it has been an offence, punishable by two years’ imprisonment, to regularly browse jihadist websites. These provisions add to existing legislation and are already in force.
Finally, the isolation of radicalized prisoners has been tested in five prisons since January 2015. Radicalized prisoners are separated from others and have individual cells. In addition to this, they follow a special programme.

This resolute action is yielding results: 16 attacks have been thwarted on our soil since 2013. One hundred and sixty individuals with links to terrorist activity have been arrested in France since the beginning of the year, thanks to the efforts of our services. Since the re-establishment of border controls on the evening of 13 November, a total of 48 million people have been checked at our land, air and sea borders, and 28,000 individuals have been prevented from entering our country.

The government is totally determined to continue and step up these efforts, with due regard for our democratic rules and national cohesion, with the sole aim of ensuring the security of the French people and defending France./.

(1) Detention of any non-EU national who is subject to a deportation decision, prior to him/her actually being deported. He/she is taken to a secure location, other than a prison, guarded by police.
(2) Supreme administrative court which also advises the government on legislation.


Statements by François Hollande, President of the French Republic

Paris - July 15, 2016

Horror… Horror has just descended on France once again.

As I speak, 77 people have sadly been killed, including several children, and some 20 people are in a critical condition. It cannot be denied that this was a terrorist attack and, once again, it was an extremely violent one, and it’s clear that we must do everything to ensure we can fight the scourge of terrorism.

The driver was shot dead. At this point we don’t know whether he had any accomplices, but we’re making sure that his identification, which is going to be confirmed, can put us onto any possible leads.
France was hit on its National Day, 14 July, the symbol of freedom, because human rights are denied by the fanatics, and because France is obviously their target.

On behalf of a nation in tears, I express our solidarity with the victims and their families.

All resources are being deployed to help the injured. The White Plan mobilizing all hospitals in the region has been triggered. After Paris in January 2015, then in November last year, along with Saint-Denis, now Nice, in turn, has been hit. The whole of France is under the threat of Islamist terrorism.

So in these circumstances, we must show absolute vigilance and unfailing determination.

Many measures have already been taken. Our legislative arsenal has been strengthened considerably. But because this is the summer season, we must further increase our level of protection.

So I’ve decided, at the Prime Minister’s proposal and together with the ministers concerned – the Defence and Interior Ministers – firstly that we’ll maintain Operation Sentinelle at a high level, which enables us to mobilize 10,000 soldiers, in addition to gendarmes and police.

I’ve also decided to call in operational reserves – i.e. all those who have at some point served under the flag or been in the gendarmerie – to come and help relieve the pressure on the police and gendarmes. We’ll be able to deploy them wherever we need them, particularly for border control.

Finally, I have decided that the state of emergency, which was to end on 26 July, will be extended by three months. A bill will be submitted to Parliament by next week.

Nothing will make us yield in our determination to combat terrorism, and we’re going to further intensify our strikes in Syria and Iraq. We’ll continue to hit those who attack us on our own soil, in their hideouts. I announced this yesterday morning.

A meeting of the Defence Council will be held tomorrow [on 15 July]. It will examine all the measures which we’ve already taken and which I’ve just announced. It will therefore enable all the necessary personnel to be deployed on every site and in every town and city where we need protection and vigilance.

Following this Defence Council meeting, I’ll go to Nice with the Prime Minister to support the city and its elected representatives in this ordeal and to mobilize all the necessary capabilities.

France is deeply distressed by over this new tragedy. It’s horrified by what has just happened, this monstrosity of using a lorry to kill, to deliberately kill dozens of people who had simply come to celebrate 14 July.

France is in tears, it’s deeply distressed, but it’s strong and will always be stronger – I assure you of that – than the fanatics who seek to attack it today.

"France will not succumb to the terrorist threat" - Speech delivered by Manuel Valls, Prime Minister

We have just held a restricted meeting of the Defense and Security Council, under the chairmanship and the authority of the head of state.

France has again been struck by a cowardly and inhuman act of terrorism. And our thoughts, at this very difficult time, are with the victims and all of the families affected by this unbearable tragedy; they are also with the city of Nice, to which we will travel shortly together with President Hollande.

Terrorism – and we have been saying this for a long time – poses a major threat to France, and this will continue to be the case for a long time. I already stated, unfortunately, that we could experience such events and that there would be further innocent victims.

We are waging a war against terrorism. The terrorists’ goal is to plant fear and panic. But France, as President Hollande reaffirmed yesterday, is a great country and a great democracy which will not allow itself to be destabilized.

As we stated a short time ago, providing support to the families and returning their loved ones’ remains, after identification, is of primary concern. All government agencies are mobilized to help the families and provide them with medical and psychological support, at this especially difficult time.

In conjunction with the operational management of the incident, under the authority of the prefect for the Alpes-Maritimes region and in immediate response to this attack, the following measures have, as you know, been approved:

The interministerial crisis cell has been activated.

The Vigipirate Plan has been raised to “attack alert” level in the department of Alpes-Maritimes.

The investigation has been referred to the counter-terrorism section of the public prosecutor’s office, and I would therefore like to reaffirm that all information relating to the investigation will be provided by the public prosecutor.

The Interministerial Victim Support Unit has been activated.

In addition, President Hollande – as he indicated to our compatriots last night – has decided to maintain Operation Sentinel at its highest level, and to call in the first level of operational reserves of the national gendarmerie. The additional personnel mobilized as a result of this will allow us to maintain a heightened level of vigilance and protection over the long term. The numbers, deadlines and arrangements are currently being finalized by the Directorate General of the National Gendarmerie.

Lastly, a bill extending the state of emergency for three more months will be presented to the Council of Ministers, after consultations with the Council of State, on Tuesday, so that Parliament can examine this text on Wednesday and Thursday. Here again, we must remain mobilized.

President Hollande has declared a period of national mourning for July 16, 17 and 18 in honor of the victims. Flags will be flown at half-staff on our public buildings from today.

Following the restricted meeting of the Defense and Security Council, we want to strongly emphasize to the French people: We will stand firm. France will not succumb to the terrorist threat. We have entered a new era; France will have to live with terrorism. And we must form a united front. This is President Hollande’s message. We must stand together, demonstrate composure, collectively.

France suffered losses once again on July 14, our national holiday. We wanted to bring the French nation together. So, the only dignified and responsible response on the part of France is one that will remain true to the spirit of July 14, i.e. that of a united France that rallies around its values. And we will stand shoulder to shoulder. That’s the only thing that matters now.

Ladies and gentlemen,

We will obviously have the opportunity throughout the day to provide a number of further details. As you know the minister of the interior and the minister of health have already arrived in Nice.

See you shortly, thank you.


A proclamation,

As a mark of respect for the victims of the attack perpetrated on July 14, 2016, in Nice, France, by the authority vested in me as President of the United States by the Constitution and the laws of the United States of America, I hereby order that the flag of the United States shall be flown at half-staff at the White House and upon all public buildings and grounds, at all military posts and naval stations, and on all naval vessels of the Federal Government in the District of Columbia and throughout the United States and its Territories and possessions until sunset, July 19, 2016. I also direct that the flag shall be flown at half-staff for the same length of time at all United States embassies, legations, consular offices, and other facilities abroad, including all military facilities and naval vessels and stations.

IN WITNESS WHEREOF, I have hereunto set my hand this fifteenth day of July, in the year of our Lord two thousand sixteen, and of the Independence of the United States of America the two hundred and forty-first.


Statement by the President Barrack Obama on the Attack in Nice, France (July 14)

On behalf of the American people, I condemn in the strongest terms what appears to be a horrific terrorist attack in Nice, France, which killed and wounded dozens of innocent civilians. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and other loved ones of those killed, and we wish a full recovery for the many wounded. I have directed my team to be in touch with French officials, and we have offered any assistance that they may need to investigate this attack and bring those responsible to justice. We stand in solidarity and partnership with France, our oldest ally, as they respond to and recover from this attack.

On this Bastille Day, we are reminded of the extraordinary resilience and democratic values that have made France an inspiration to the entire world, and we know that the character of the French Republic will endure long after this devastating and tragic loss of life.

Statement by Secretary of State John Kerry on the Attack in Nice, July 14

Today’s horrendous attack in Nice is an attack against innocent people on a day that celebrates Liberty, Equality, and Fraternity.

On behalf of all Americans, and especially the great many with close ties to France, I offer our deepest condolences to the friends and family of those who were killed and our hopes for a speedy recovery to those who were injured.

I was proud to stand alongside French leaders earlier today at Bastille Day celebrations in Paris, and the United States will continue to stand firmly with the French people during this time of tragedy. We will provide whatever support is needed.

Our embassy in Paris is making every effort to account for the welfare of U.S. citizens in Nice. Any U.S. citizens in Nice should contact friends and family directly to inform them of their well being.

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