French President Francois Hollande branded the siege of a kosher grocery by AQAP-supplied terrorists a “horrible anti-Semitic act” in the heart of Paris.
French Prime Minister Manuel Valls also told the media this afternoon that it would be a long-term effort and “great mobilization” to protect houses of worship in the country.
Hollande told the nation in a press conference that “the murderers have been taken off through a dual intervention, one in Dammartin-en-Goele, in a printing warehouse and another one at the Cours de Vincennes in the grocery — the kosher grocery store.”
The president expressed pride in the police proud “because when the order was given, they launched the assault simultaneously, with the same purpose in mind, to save the human lives of the hostages and to neutralize the terrorists who had committed murders.”
“But, even though France is aware that it has faced up to these tags and that its security forces are composed of courageous men and women, France also knows that it is not over yet with the threats. And hence I would like to issue a call for vigilance,” Hollande said.
“Together with the prime minister, I have strengthened our resources to protect all public places and make sure that we can get on with our lives quietly without being subject to any risks or threats. But we do need to be alert.”
Hollande also declared “unity is our weapon.”
“And we must show our determination to fight against anything that might divide us and to be implacable in our fight against racism and anti-Semitism, because today, in this kosher shop, it was obviously a horrible anti-Semitic act that was committed,” he said.
“Not being divided means that we should not paint people with a broad brush, and that we should beware of exaggerations. Those who have committed those acts, those fanatics, have nothing in common with the rest of the Muslim faith.”
Also, Hollande said, “We need to mobilize.”
“We must be able to respond to attacks with force when we need to use force, but also with solidarity. And we need to show that solidarity is effective,” he said. “We are a free nation that does not give in to any pressure, that is not afraid, because we carry an idea that is greater than us and an ideal which we are able to carry and promote wherever we’re threatened. And, once again, I’d like to salute our soldiers who make sure that we effectively fight terrorism.”
The president noted that many governments across the world have “expressed their solidarity” and some would be present during the mass unity demonstration on Sunday. “I will be with them. And I would like to call upon all the French people to stand up this Sunday for liberty, pluralism, all those values that are so important to us and which Europe, in a way, also represents, so that we’ll be even stronger after this trial,” he said.
“Long live the republic. Long live France.”