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TERRORISM

Rajoy on Nice attack: “We feel our neighbors’ pain as though it were our own”

The Spanish Interior Ministry decides to keep Spain on a terrorist threat level of 4 out of 5

Atentado en Niza
Mariano Rajoy on Thursday evening. REUTERS

Spain’s political leaders have condemned the terrorist attack that took place on Thursday night in the French city of Nice, as the country was celebrating its national holiday.

The Spanish Foreign Ministry said there are no reports of Spanish casualties “for the moment.”

The Interior Ministry has decided to keep Spain on a terrorist threat level of 4 out of 5 for now.

The acting foreign minister has warned that the identification of the dead and injured “has only just begun”

In a special press conference on Friday morning, acting Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy said that “we feel our neighbors’ immense pain as though it were our own.”

“France will count on Spain’s full cooperation in order to pursue and punish the terrorists,” he added.

The Spanish leader noted that “this global threat requires a global response” and that “Spain is part of that global response.”

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Rajoy unveiled that he has called a meeting of the committee tasked with following up on the Anti-Terrorist Pact, which includes the vast majority of Spain’s political parties with a presence in parliament. 

National and regional authorities observed a minute of silence at noon to protest the attack.

“The answer to terrorism must rely on these three principles: liberty, equality and fraternity,” said Podemos leader Pablo Iglesias in Congress, which also observed a minute of silence.

Twitter messages

Rajoy and opposition leaders had also expressed their condolences in a series of Twitter messages sent throughout the early hours of Friday, shortly after a truck plowed into the crowd in the southern French city, killing 84 people.

Madrid Islamic center speaks out

The Islamic Cultural Center of Madrid has condemned the attack “in the strongest terms.”

“We Muslims reject terrorism in all of its forms and manifestations. We send our condolences to the families of the victims, to the government and to the people of France,” said center leaders in a statement.

“Shaken by the news coming out of Nice, which I am following with concern. My condolences to the entire French nation,” wrote Rajoy on Twitter.

The Socialist Party leader, Pedro Sánchez, sent out a similar message: “Dismayed at the news coming out of Nice. Our solidarity with the victims and all our support to the French people.”

Pablo Iglesias, head of the anti-austerity Podemos, tweeted: “Watching the heart-rending news coming from France. My solidarity with the French people and with the victims’ families.”

Albert Rivera, president of the reform party Ciudadanos, also tweeted about the “terrible events in Nice” and sent out a message of solidarity with the French, as did Alberto Garzón, head of the United Left federation.

No Spanish victims “for now”

Acting Foreign Minister José Manuel García-Margallo said that “for the moment” there are no reports of Spaniards among the victims, but he warned that the identification of the dead and injured “has only just begun.”

Margallo confirmed that the Spanish consul in Marseilles has traveled to Nice to better liaise with the vice-consul there. Both diplomats are in touch with French authorities in order to locate any potential Spanish victims.

Speaking in the Mongolian capital of Ulaanbaatar, where he is attending a European-Asian summit, Margallo told his French counterpart Jean-Marc Ayrault that the Spanish government is ready to help in the fight against terrorism.

English version by Susana Urra.

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