After the shock and global emotion caused by the jihadist attack on a church in Nice, France called on its nationals living abroad to be cautious and reinforced the surveillance of its territory, from places of worship to schools.
“The message of emergency attack [le plus haut niveau du plan de sécurité français] was sent last night to all of our nationals abroad, wherever they are, since the threat is everywhere, ”French foreign minister Jean-Yves Le Drian said on Friday.
Thursday, Nice was bereaved by the assassination of three people in a church, four years after the Islamist attack of July 14, 2016, which left 86 dead in this city on the Côte d’Azur.
A 21-year-old Tunisian, Brahim Issaoui, stabbed to death two women, a sexagenarian and a 44-year-old Brazilian living in Nice for several years, Simone Barreto Silva, single mother of three children, as well as the sacristan of the basilica, Vincent Loquès, 55, father of two daughters.
The attacker, himself seriously injured by the police, was hospitalized.
If his motivations are unknown, his course is less vague. From French and Italian sources, he arrived clandestinely in Europe via the Italian island of Lampedusa on September 20. Then he landed on the mainland, in Bari, on October 9, where he was reportedly ordered to leave the territory within seven days.
His trace is then lost, until Wednesday, when he calls his brother Yassine, in Sfax, Tunisia. “He arrived in France [mercredi] around 8 p.m. He said he was going to France, because for work, it’s better, “Yassine Issaoui told AFP on Friday, unable to understand the drift of this brother he had seen turning to religion since. about two years after starting a small informal gasoline outlet.
From a source close to the investigation, we also expect the young man to arrive in Nice “24 to 48 hours before the attack”.
Did the attacker act alone? From a source close to the investigation, the 47-year-old man arrested Thursday evening, suspected of having been in contact with the young Tunisian, would in fact not be linked to this file. But the search for possible accomplices could advance thanks to the two cell phones found near Brahim Issaoui, with a Koran.
Elected officials want to “wage war”
If meditation was still in order in front of the cathedral, several political leaders have expressed their anger, starting with the mayor of Nice, Christian Estrosi. He called in particular to “modify the Constitution” in order to be able to “wage war” against an ideology that he describes as “Islamo-fascism”. The deputy of the department, Eric Ciotti, called on CNews for the creation of “a French Guantánamo”.
“We are not at war against a religion, but against an ideology, the Islamist ideology”, for his part declared the Minister of the Interior, Gerald Darmanin.
7,000 members of the security forces, half of them reservists, will be made available to the prefects from Monday to ensure the security of the territory, confirmed Minister Darmanin. The strengthening of security measures around places of Christian worship will be “strong” during this Catholic holiday weekend of All Saints, November 1. Schools will also be particularly protected.
Two weeks after the assassination of teacher Samuel Paty, beheaded for showing his students caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad, as part of a course on freedom of expression, tension is great between France and a party of the Muslim world.
“The threat is everywhere”, hammered Jean-Yves Le Drian, for the attention of French people abroad.
After the attack on a security guard at the French consulate in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, announced on Thursday, clashes erupted in Beirut on Friday near the residence of the French embassy. “We are moving quickly from virtual hatred to real violence, and we have decided to take all measures to ensure the security of our interests, of our nationals,” insisted Mr. Le Drian.
After the Nice attack, messages of support for France came from all over the world, from the United States to the Middle East, from Europe to the UN.
In Nice, a city with a strong community from the Maghreb, feelings are mixed. Anger or even hatred, among these 200 or so identitarians who demonstrated on Thursday evening, to cries of “Islam outside”. But also calls for tolerance, like that of Virginie, a 37-year-old home help: “It reminds us of 2016 and July 14, but we have to stay smart. “