“WE must not bow down to terror but stand united with our friends and neighbours” – that was the verdict of borough Mayor Councillor in the wake of the attack in Nice, France, which claimed the lives of 84 people last night (Thursday).
Speaking as the Union Jack over the town hall was lowered to half mast, he added: “My heartfelt prayers and thoughts go out to the families of the victims of this atrocity.
“It breaks my heart, decent people out celebrating a national holiday and brutally murdered. I just hope it does not spark off further hatred and reprisals.”
At 3.30pm today (July 15) members from all Redditch’s faiths and cultures gathered this afternoon as the flag was lowered, including three members of Redditch’s Muslim community and two French nationals.
French national, Simone Hughes, said: “I am deeply affected by this latest atrocity and I feel a great shock and concern for all the French people affected.”
Redditch is twinned with two French towns, Auxerre and Gruchet-le-Valasse and, just as after the Paris terrorist attacks, a letter of condolences will be sent to them expressing sympathy and solidarity.
Councillor Bill Hartnett, the leader of Redditch borough council said: “This is a tragedy. Terrorists can not and will not win. We must and will stand up and united against these horrific acts, My thoughts and prayers are with the French people.
The attacker in Nice was driving a truck, reportedly packed with weapons and explosives, which ploughed into revellers celebrating Bastille Day (July 14) on the main thoroughfare of the Mediterranean city, the Promenade des Anglais.
The incident occurred at about 10pm UK time with the driver sweeping through crowds for more than a mile before finally being stopped after being shot dead by police.
A state of emergency, which has been in force in France since Islamic State terrorists killed 130 people in November’s Paris attacks, has been extended for another three months, although already there are calls to beef up measures to prevent such attacks again.
French experts say it is too early to say this was a terrorist attack – no group has claimed responsibility – but the incident is being investigated by anti-terrorist officers and it comes after IS has suffered significant losses in its Syrian power bases.