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Bastille Day horror


Switzerland condemns Nice attack


Emergency services at the scene in Nice (AFP)

Emergency services at the scene in Nice

(AFP)

The president of Switzerland, Johann Schneider-Ammann, has strongly condemned an attack in neighbouring France, in which a truck ploughed into packed crowds gathered for Bastille Day celebrations. At least two Swiss are among the more than 80 people confirmed dead.

In a tweet, Schneider-Ammann called the attack in the southern French city of Nice “cowardly”.

“Our hearts go out to France and its population,” he wrote.

“We have to fight against every form of terrorism, but there is no clear answer, or else we could have already reacted,” Schneider-Ammann told the Swiss News Agency from the sidelines of the Asia-Europe meeting in Ulan Bator, Mongolia, which he is currently attending.

"Switzerland is shocked and deeply saddened by the attack in Nice," said a statement from the Federal Chancellery.

The government has offered its condolences to French President François Hollande on behalf of the Swiss population.

At least two Swiss citizens, including a woman and a child, were killed in the attack on Thursday night.

Swiss victims

The authorities say they cannot rule out that there might be more Swiss nationals among the victims.

The Swiss foreign ministry added that clarifications were in progress. It said it is supporting the families of the victims as part of its consular protection service.

A task force has been set up, which is cooperating closely with the French authorities.

The foreign ministry said it had received 48 calls on its hotline by Friday evening asking it to search for missing people.  All but five cases could be resolved.

The Italian-language news site Corriere del Ticino is reporting that one of the victims is a 54-year-old Swiss woman. The information came from the woman's husband. The couple were said to be on holiday in Nice.

The Swiss Federal Office of Police said that it had activated its task force, with government and cantonal partners, in the wake of the Nice attacks.

The office is in contact with French investigators to see if there is any link to Switzerland. The Federal Intelligence Service said the risk of terrorist attacks remained unchanged but there are no immediate threats.

Half-mast

Flags are flying at half-mast in front of the Swiss parliament and the French embassy in Bern.

The embassy organised a gathering in silence outside its premises in the capital, Bern, on Friday evening to remember the victims of the Nice attacks and their families. Gatherings were also held outside the French consulates in Zurich and Geneva.

National holiday

At around 11pm local time on Thursday a large white truck plunged into the crowd gathered on Nice’s Promenade des Anglais. Thousands of people were assembled to watch fireworks for France’s national holiday. Reports say the driver fired shots. 

 (swissinfo.ch)
(swissinfo.ch)

At least 84 people are dead, including many children and tourists, the French interior ministry said early Friday morning. A further 50 people were in critical condition in hospital.

The attacker was shot dead by police after driving for two kilometres.

President Hollande said in a pre-dawn television address that the country was "under the threat of Islamic terrorism".

World leaders, including President Barack Obama and his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, joined in condemnation of what they called a terrorist attack. 

France has declared three days of national mourning, starting on Saturday.

The Nice attack comes eight months and a day after a series of bomb and gun attacks on Paris in which 130 people died.

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