World leaders united in horror and pledged their determination to fight terrorism after the truck attack on a Bastille Day crowd in the French Riviera city of Nice killed 84 people.
US President Barack Obama, Russian president Vladimir Putin and European and Asian leaders meeting for a summit in Mongolia joined in condemnation of what they called a terrorist attack in messages to French President François Hollande.
Dozens more were injured. The dead included foreign tourists and students.
European Council president Donald Tusk, speaking in the Mongolian capital Ulaanbaatar, captured the global shock when he spoke of the “tragic paradox that the subject of #NiceAttack was the people celebrating liberty, equality and fraternity”.
Angela Merkel, the German chancellor, said on the sidelines of the Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) in Mongolia: “All of us who have come together at the ASEM summit are united in our feeling of disbelief at the attack of mass murder in Nice.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May said Britain stood “shoulder to shoulder” with France.
Putin, whose relations with the West have been strained over Russian actions in Ukraine and Syria, went on Russian television to convey his condolences to Hollande after apparently being unable to reach him by telephone.
“Dear François, Russia knows what terror is and the threats that it creates for all of us. Our people have more than once encountered similar tragedies and is deeply affected by the incident, sympathises with the French people, and feels solidarity with them,” he said, adding that Russian citizens were among the victims in Nice.
In France, far-right National Front leader Marine Le Pen faulted the country’s response to past attacks.
“The war on the scourge of Islamist fundamentalism has not begun. It is urgent now that it be declared,” she said on Twitter.
In the Middle East, many messages of sympathy and condemnation were laced with domestic agendas.
Turkish president Tayyip Erdogan, whose country was hit just days ago by a coordinated gun and bomb attack on Istanbul airport by suspected Islamic State militants, said Turks could understand what France and the French people were going through.
In an apparent swipe at EU countries that disapprove of Ankara’s crackdown on Kurdish separatist fighters, Mr Erdogan said: “We expect those who act inconsistently in the face of terror to draw necessary lessons from the most recent attack in France.”
The EU is trying to persuade Ankara to narrow the scope of its sweeping anti-terror laws as one of the conditions for granting visa-free travel to Turks.
Brussels wants to avoid journalists, academics, and opposition politicians being prosecuted for expressing peaceful opinions on the Kurdish issue.
Italy, Spain, Germany, Britain, and Belgium held separate meetings to review their own security after the Nice attack.
Germany said it had boosted border controls at airports as well as road and rail crossings into France in response, as did Italy.
Britain and Belgium said that their threat level was already severe, indicating they regard an attack is “highly likely”.
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