Speaking in a televised address to the nation on Saturday, French President François Hollande accused the Islamic State (IS) group of conducting a series of attacks in and around Paris late Friday that left at least 127 people dead.
Speaking from the Elysée presidential palace the morning after France saw its worst day of violence since World War II, Hollande said the attacks were “an act of war” committed by the Islamic State group’s “terrorist army”.
The French president said the atrocities were, “against France, against the values that we defend everywhere in the world, against what we are: A free country that means something to the whole planet.”
The Islamic State (IS) jihadist group claimed responsibility on Saturday for the series of apparently coordinated attacks in and around Paris.
Hollande went on to say that France would “triumph over the barbarism” of the IS militant group and “will act by all means anywhere, inside or outside the country”.
Hollande declared three days of national mourning in the wake of the attacks.
The Socialist president announced a state of emergency on Friday night as France reinstituted border checks.
Hollande said he would address parliament on Monday in an extraordinary meeting. France will also hold a minute’s silence Monday at noon for the victims of the Paris attacks.
IS group claims attacks
Shortly after Hollande’s address was broadcast live on major French TV stations, the IS group claimed the Paris attacks in a statement posted online.
The statement, issued in Arabic and French, said “eight brothers wearing explosive belts and carrying assault rifles” conducted a “blessed attack on … the Crusader France”.
The militant added that the attacks were designed to show France that it will remain a top target, saying France was guilty of “striking Muslims in the caliphate with their aircraft”. France is part of a US-led coalition conducting air strikes on IS jihadists in Syria and Iraq, where the group declared a caliphate last year after seizing areas of both countries.
The IS group has attracted thousands of foreign fighters, including nationals from Western European countries. French officials say more than a thousand nationals or residents have travelled to the conflict zone in Syria and Iraq.
‘This is a horror’
Gunmen and bombers attacked busy restaurants, bars and a concert hall at least six locations around Paris on Friday evening, killing at least 127 people. The apparently coordinated gun and bomb attacks came as the country, a member of the US-led coalition waging air strikes against Islamic State group fighters in Syria and Iraq, was on high alert for terrorist attacks ahead of a global climate conference due to open later this month.
Hollande, who was attending an international football match with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier when several explosions went off outside the Stade de France, declared a state of emergency in the Paris region and announced the closure of France’s borders.
“This is a horror,” the president said in a midnight television address to the nation before chairing an emergency cabinet meeting.
All emergency services were mobilised, police leave was cancelled and hospitals recalled staff to cope with the casualties.
It is a very sad day for the whole of France…And indeed, for many decent people around the world.. May the souls of those who lost their lives rest in peace…
Once again, an act of extreme savagery has got many people attempting to answer the questions,”WHY”…
-Why are so many young people turning to radicals and mass murderers.?
-Why is radicalism (political/religious) on the rise..?
-Why is the world seemingly impotent and unable to deal with the deadly IS group..?
What is not been asked and answered is the question,”WHO”..
-Who is training these individuals in weapons handling and combat.?
Many of these young men have no records of military service but they are fully conversant with weapons and explosives and 100% combat ready…Someone is training them…Who is it..?
-Who is/are funding these groups..?
Waging a sustained war (as IS is doing) and carrying out operations in far away and sophisticated countries like France, require funding and logistic support ..Who is/are providing these?
Playing with terrorism, for geopolitical reasons, is a very, very big mistake and the sooner the countries that are providing training, weapons and funding to these groups realise that, the better for all of us..