“A sad day for France, for Europe”—World leaders react to the horrific attack in Nice

Flags near the scene of the attack in Nice, France.
Flags near the scene of the attack in Nice, France.
Image: Associated Press/Luca Bruno
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The French are once again waking up to news of a horrific attack in their country. Over 80 people were killed and dozens more injured after a truck rammed through a large crowd in Nice that had gathered to watch Bastille Day fireworks.

“The terrorist nature of the attack cannot be denied,” French president Francois Hollande said on Friday. “We must show absolute vigilance and determination. All of France is under the threat of Islamic terrorism.”

Hollande confirmed that the country’s state of emergency would be extended for another three months. French prime minister Manuel Valls announced three days of mourning. “Times have changed and we should learn to live with terrorism,” Valls said.

World leaders reacted with horror and sympathy.

US president Barack Obama was one of the first to respond to the terrorist attack, describing France as America’s “oldest ally.” Obama noted the attack occurred on Bastille Day, and went on to describe France’s resilience and democratic values as “an inspiration to the world.”

US secretary of state John Kerry was in Paris to celebrate Bastille Day when the attack occurred. Kerry said he 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.”

Democratic presidential candidate Hilary Clinton condemned the “radical jihadist” terror, while Donald Trump simply asked, “When will we learn?”

European council president Donald Tusk called it “a sad day for France, for Europe.” Tusk was at the Asia-Europe Meeting in Mongolia, where leaders held a moment of silence for the victims.

German chancellor Angela Merkel, who was at the same meeting, denounced the “mass murder in Nice,” adding that “Germany stands in the fight against terrorism at France’s side, united with many, many others.”

Newly appointed British foreign sectary Boris Johnson described the attack as an “absolutely appalling incident.” He confirmed that one British national was injured.

Britain’s new prime minister Theresa May has said that the UK must “redouble efforts” to defeat “brutal” terrorism.

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi said he was “appalled by the horrific Nice attack” in a statement, adding, “I strongly condemn such mindless acts of violence. My thoughts are with the families of deceased.”

The attack was also slammed by Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, who said: “I strongly condemn the inhumane act which took place during the celebration of national holidays in Nice.” He added, “Turkey is always with the states of the world in the international fight against terrorism and also shares the pain of the French people.”

Chinese president Xi Jinping sent his condolences to Hollande and the victims of the attack. He condemned “appalling brutality” and reaffirmed China’s commitment to fighting terrorism.

Canadian prime minister Justin Trudeau expressed sympathy and solidarity to the victims, tweeting in English and French.

Australian prime minister Malcolm Turnbull echoed Trudeau’s sentiments in a statement, adding that it was only eight months ago that the world  “mourned for the victims of terrorist attacks in Paris.” Now, the world has to “mourn for the victims of another murderous act of terror in France.”