French President Francois Hollande has this morning pointed the finger of blame for last night’s Paris attacks squarely at Islamic State (ISIS), describing the attack as an “act of war”.
Speaking this morning about the suicide and gun attacks which are believed to have killed at least 120 people, Mr. Hollande asserted that the attacks were “committed by a terrorist army, the Islamic State group, a jihadist army, 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.”
He said France “will be merciless toward the barbarians of Islamic State group.”
France “will act by all means anywhere, inside or outside the country” and described the attack as “cowardly”.
Announcing three days national mourning, and raising the country’s threat level to its highest possible point, Mr. Hollande spoke of “the terrorist menace,” and announced that he would address the French parliament on Monday.
He said in a televised address: “I pay homage to the country’s defenders who fought the terrorists yesterday.
“Everyone has given their upmost and will be putting in their best efforts in the day to come.”
“Even if France is wounded, she will rise.”
Mr. Hollande said the attacks were “organised” but “planned from outside” with help from within, suggesting that the terrorists who committed the atrocities may have been able to make their way into and across France from another country.
One of the terrorists is believed to have mentioned France’s involvement in Syria last night.
Islamic State supporters on social media cheered the attack on late last night, while the civilised world stood in shock.
One Islamist sympathiser ominously wrote: “After Paris comes Rome and Andalus,” implying that Italy, then Spain, were next on the attack list.
Experts have noted how France is often the number one target for Islamists, even ahead of the United States and United Kingdom. This may be due to France’s close colonial ties with Middle East and North African countries, or simply because the country is seen as easier to attack.