Saturday, November 28, 2015

France honors victims of Paris attacks in national ceremony

Under a cloudy, wintry sky, the French tricolor was displayed outside public buildings and homes on Friday. Government officials, politicians from left and right camps and leaders of different religious groups gathered at the military museum Les Invalides to pay tribute to the 130 people killed during the Nov. 13 terrorist attacks.

Families of the victims and wounded survivors arriving in wheelchairs joined the national ceremony, sending a message of "love of life" in the face of "the cult of death."

In a somber atmosphere, the memorial ceremony started with Jack Brel's song "Quand on a que l'amour (When we have nothing but love) "performed by Camelia Jordana, Yael Naim and Nolwenn Leroy, three French singers of different origins.

The names of the victims, including foreigners from 17 countries were read out one by one before their pictures were displayed on a giant screen in Les Invalides.

A series of coordinate attacks, claimed by the Islamic State (IS), targeted bars, a concert hall and a soccer stadium in the French capital two weeks ago. A total of 130 people were killed and more than 350 others were wounded in France's worst terror attacks.

French President Francois Hollande pledged to eradicate extremist fighters and invited the French to battle terrorism by simply continuing to enjoy the pleasure of their daily lives by going to restaurants and attending sporting and cultural events.

"I solemnly promise you all that France will do everything to defeat the army of fanatics who have committed these crimes, that it will act tirelessly to protect its 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 added.

Hollande intensified air strikes against IS training camps and oil facilities, of which the militant group makes money.

He also chaired meetings with his European allies, U.S. President Barack Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin to discuss how to build a strong global coalition to defeat IS in Syria and Iraq.

"We will defeat this enemy, together with our forces, those of the republic, with our arms, those of democracy, with our institutions, with international law," the Socialist leader told attendees.

Last week, the French parliament approved the extension of a state of emergency declared immediately after the attacks to three months on persistent high terror alert.

   Source:Xinhua -

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