UPDATE: 3:05 p.m. EDT — President Barack Obama reaffirmed the United States' strong ties with France Friday and promised that the U.S. and its partners would not give up in the face of terrorist attacks like the one that occurred Thursday night in Nice, France.
Obama deployed a familiar argument against the threat posed by lone wolf attackers and the Islamic State group, saying the war is not one defined by religion, race or creed. It is a war defined as one between humanity and humanity's foe, he said.
"The divide that exists is not between races and ethnicities and religions," Obama said. "It is between people who recognize the common humanity of all people and those who want to build institutions to promote that humanity and those who do not."
The president said that he had reached out to his French counterpart to remind him of their bond.
"I reminded him that France is America’s oldest allies and one of our strongest, that we owe our freedom to each other," he said. "Americans and the French have stood together for two centuries."
U.S. President Barack Obama, responding to the latest act of terror to shock the western world, was scheduled to address the attacks in Nice Friday afternoon at 3:30 p.m. EDT. And, just like any other time during his presidency when addressing terrorism, he’s likely to pick his words of anguish and condolence with care. You can watch his remarks live below.
The Nice attack has not officially been credited to any particular group but sympathizers of the Islamic State group and al-Qaeda have cheered the carnage. Obama called the attacks “horrific” Thursday night in a statement and called the acts an apparent “terrorist attack” but refrained from naming who was responsible. French investigators also said little is known about the motive of the attack.
Ahead of Obama’s Friday remarks, you can read below the statement issued from the White House in the hours after Nice was struck with the attack.
“On behalf of the American people, I condemn in the strongest terms what appears to be a horrific terrorist attack in Nice, France, which killed and wounded dozens of innocent civilians. Our thoughts and prayers are with the families and other loved ones of those killed, and we wish a full recovery for the many wounded. I have directed my team to be in touch with French officials, and we have offered any assistance that they may need to investigate this attack and bring those responsible to justice. We stand in solidarity and partnership with France, our oldest ally, as they respond to and recover from this attack,” the president’s statement read.
“On this Bastille Day,” the statement continued, “we are reminded of the extraordinary resilience and democratic values that have made France an inspiration to the entire world, and we know that the character of the French Republic will endure long after this devastating and tragic loss of life.”