Friday, 15 July 2016

Belgium Boosts National Day Security after Nice Attack

Belgian PoliceBelgium will beef up security for next week’s national day celebrations after the truck attack in the French city of Nice on Bastille Day, Prime Minister Charles Michel said Friday.
The country is already on high alert after terror attacks in March claimed by the ISIL group on Brussels airport and on the city’s metro system left 32 people dead.
“We are determined to show that democracy is stronger than the terrorists,” Michel told a news briefing in Brussels.
“We of course intend to take extra measures for events linked to the national holiday (on July 21),” Michel said.
Michel said that despite the Nice attacks Belgium was keeping its terror alert level at the second-highest level of three, which means a threat is possible and likely.
Belgian authorities had previously anticipated a possible truck-style attack before the Nice carnage, in which at least 84 revelers were killed, Michel added.
“Without revealing our plans, we were already wary to the idea of this type of scenario,” Michel said.
Several of those involved in the Brussels bloodshed were directly linked to the November attacks in Paris which left 130 dead.
Belgian authorities last month charged two men with terrorist offences amid reports of a planned attack on a Euro 2016 fanzone in central Brussels.
Source: AFP
15-07-2016 – 14:51 Last updated 15-07-2016 – 14:51
At least 84 Dead in Nice Truck Attack, Hollande Extends State of Emergency 
A gunman smashed a truck into a crowd of revelers celebrating Bastille Day in the French resort of Nice, killing at least 84 people in what President Francois Hollande on Friday declared a terrorist attack.
Police shot the driver dead after he barreled the truck two kilometers (1.3 miles) through a crowd that had been enjoying a fireworks display for France’s national day.Nice truck attack
The palm-lined Promenade des Anglais of the French Riviera resort was left strewn with bodies as hundreds fled in terror.
Authorities said they found identity papers belonging to a 31-year-old French-Tunisian citizen in the 19-tonne truck, and that the driver had fired a gun several times before police shot him dead.
Terrorist Attack
The attack was of an “undeniable terrorist nature,” a somber Hollande said in a televised national address, confirming that several children were among the dead.
“France was struck on its national day … the symbol of freedom,” said Hollande.
Interior ministry spokesman Pierre-Henry Brandet said 84 people were killed and scores injured, including 18 in “critical condition”.
Bastille Day is a celebration of France’s secular republic and the values of “Liberte, Egalite, Fraternite” (Freedom, Equality, Fraternity).
Earlier Thursday, onlookers had enjoyed a day of military pomp and ceremony in Paris — where armed forces, tanks and fighter jets swooped down the Champs Elysees avenue — and spectacular firework displays.
In a video viewed over 3,000 times on Facebook, a trembling Tarubi Wahid Mosta recounted the horror on the promenade, where he took photos of an abandoned doll and pushchair and came home with a victim’s Yorkshire terrier.
The truck was riddled with bullet holes and badly damaged, with burst tyres.
Robert Holloway, an AFP reporter who witnessed the white truck driving at speed into the crowd, described scenes of “absolute chaos”.
“We saw people hit and bits of debris flying around. I had to protect my face from flying debris,” he said.
On Twitter, there were desperate pleas from those looking for news of loved ones.
The attack was the third major strike against France in less than 18 months and prosecutors said anti-terrorist investigators would handle the probe.
It comes eight months after ISIL Takfiri group’s attacks on Paris nightspots left 130 people dead, dealing a hard blow to tourism in one of the world’s top destinations.
US President Barack Obama condemned “what appears to be a horrific terrorist attack”, although no group had yet claimed responsibility.
State of Emergency
Hollande announced he would extend France’s state of emergency for three months in the wake of this latest attack and “step up” the government’s action against jihadists in Syria and Iraq.
“We will continue striking those who attack us on our own soil,” he said, in reference to the Islamic State group.
He also called up army reservists to bolster security services that are stretched to the limit.
France has been under a state of emergency ever since the November 13 Paris carnage, which came after 17 were killed in another attack in January at various sites including the offices of the Charlie Hebdo magazine.
Source: AFP
15-07-2016 – 10:42 Last updated 15-07-2016 – 10:42

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