France pays trib­ute to vic­tims of Paris at­tacks

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - WORLD -

PARIS: France paid trib­ute yes­ter­day to the 130 mostly young peo­ple killed while they were en­joy­ing them­selves in Paris two weeks ago by Is­lamist gun­men and sui­cide bombers in the most deadly at­tacks the na­tion has seen since World War II.

Blue-white-and-red French flags hung from the win­dows of pub­lic build­ings and pri­vate homes as hun­dreds of sur­vivors and rel­a­tives of the dead joined po­lit­i­cal lead­ers for a re­mem­brance cer­e­mony at the mil­i­tary mu­seum Les In­valides in the cap­i­tal.

The mil­i­tant group Is­lamic State has claimed re­spon­si­bil­ity for the Novem­ber 13 at­tacks, which tar­geted cafes, restau­rants, a sports sta­dium and a rock con­cert. More than 350 peo­ple were wounded and nearly 100 of them re­main in hos­pi­tal.

Un­der a win­try sky, the names and ages of the 130 vic­tims were read out. A ma­jor­ity were un­der 35 and they came from all over France and from 17 other coun­tries.

In a poignant but de­fi­ant speech, Pres­i­dent Fran­cois Hol­lande vowed to de­stroy Is­lamic State and urged his com­pa­tri­ots to help com­bat the group sim­ply by con­tin­u­ing to go to bars, restau­rants and cul­tural and sport­ing events and to enjoy the sim­ple plea­sures he said the mil­i­tants hated.

“I solemnly prom­ise you all that France will do ev­ery­thing to de­feat the army of fa­nat­ics who have com­mit­ted th­ese crimes, that she will act tire­lessly to pro­tect her chil­dren,” he said.

“The ter­ror­ists want to di­vide us, to op­pose us, to pit us against one an­other. They will fail. They have the cult of death, we have the love of life,” he said.

Hol­lande said the at­tacks were part of a chain stretch­ing back to the Septem­ber 11, 2001 at­tacks in the US, and he noted that many other coun­tries – in­clud­ing, this month alone, Mali and Tu­nisia – had been hit by mil­i­tant groups. – Reuters

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