On the evening of July 14 (local time), a truck was deliberately driven into a crowd of people in the southern French city of Nice. The attack was launched on a popular street that would normally be packed with tourists, killing at least 80 people. French President Francois Hollande said the attack was a ‘terrorist’ assault and decided that the state of emergency would be extended by three months. He also declared that “nothing will make us yield in our will to fight terrorism.”
Presdient Hollande, who was in Avignon at the time of the attack, rushed back to Paris and addressed the nation live on television in the early morning of July 15. He said, “France was struck on its national holiday, the symbol of freedom. We express our condolences to the victims of the attack and their families.”
The terrorist attack took place on Bastille Day, a national holiday that celebrates the beginning of the French Revolution. The truck ran over the victims while they were walking along the promenade to go back home or to their cars after watching the fireworks on the beach.
President Hollande said, “France as a whole is under the threat of Islamic terrorism. We must show absolute vigilance and determination. It is obvious that we must do everything to fight against the scourge of terrorism.”
The state of emergency had been due to end on July 26, but the French government decided to extend its state of emergency for three more months. President Hollande said, “We are going to strengthen our efforts in Syria and Iraq against those who are attacking us on our very soil.” Islamic State supports claimed that the terror attack was retaliation for the death of Omar al-Shishani, a top Islamic State group commander, but IS has not yet issued an official statement..
On July 13, the day before the terror attack, President Hollande announced that France would deploy its nuclear-powered aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle to the Middle East to step up the fight against the Islamic State group and suggested an increase in ground troops.