FRANCE - IRAq -SYRIa

France observes minute's silence for Nice victims, bombs IS

A bouquet on Nice's Promenade des Anglais in homage to the victims of the Bastille Day attack
A bouquet on Nice's Promenade des Anglais in homage to the victims of the Bastille Day attack Reuters/Eric Gaillard

France observed a minute's silence at midday Monday in homage to the victims of the Nice Bastille Day attack that killed 84 people. French fighters have lauched two air strikes against the Islamic State [IS) armed group since then, Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian announced on Monday after a security and defence council meeting. President François Hollande called on critics of the government's security record to respect "dignity and truth".

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A minute's silence was observed across the country in homage to the 84 victims.

In Nice itself part of the crowd booed and whistled when Prime Minister Manuel Valls left the scene.

"We are continuing our action abroad against Daesh [an Arabic acronym for IS used by French ministers], where Daesh's crucible is, in Iraq and Syria," Le Drian said after the third security and defence council meeting in the four days since the Nice attack.

"Our forces continue to strike. They did so the day before yesterday, they did so again last night to contribute to the coalition to definitively eradicate the cancer of Daesh."

Hollande hit out at the right-wing opposition, which has accused the government of failing to take sufficient action against terrorism, during the meeting.

People in the public eye have an "obligation of dignity and truth", he said.

Former president Nicolas Sarkozy on Sunday said that "everything that should have been done in the last 18 months has not been done," while his rival to be mainstream right candidate in next year's presidential election, Alain Juppé, called on the government to "step up a gear" in the anti-terror fight.

National Front leader Marine Le Pen on Saturday claimed there had been "extremely serious failures" in national security.

Le Drian and Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve defended the government's record and implied that previous right-wing governments had failed to guarantee security, while calling for national unity in the face of violence.

"We can only have resilience in a country that has been hit so hard if we tell the truth to the French people and if we prepare them to face these trials in unity," Cazeneuve said after the meeting.

 

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