French president vows to destroy ‘army of fanatics’ behind Paris attacks

French president vows to destroy ‘army of fanatics’ behind Paris attacks

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French president Francois Hollande has promised the families of those killed and wounded in the Paris attacks that he will do everything to destroy the “army of fanatics” responsible.

Mr Hollande spoke in front of his government, families of the victims and soldiers at a memorial service inside the courtyard of the Invalides national monument.

The names of the 130 dead and their ages were read aloud in a sombre ceremony.

Overwhelmingly young adults in their 20s and 30s, nearly all the victims were killed at a rock concert or on the terraces of bars and restaurants of central Paris.

Mr Hollande was sitting alone in a simple chair in the Invalides courtyard, an assembled crowd of mourners behind him.

Windows across France were draped with French flags in an uncharacteristic display of patriotism, but the locked-down ceremony lacked the defiance of January, when a million people marched through the streets to honour those killed in the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

France’s military provided the only images of Friday’s ceremony, and no one without an invitation was permitted inside.

Three teams of suicide bombers and gunmen struck across Paris on November 13, beginning at the national stadium – where Mr Hollande was among the spectators – and ending in the storming of the Bataclan concert venue.

The French national anthem played by a military band closed the ceremony honouring the dead, and Mr Hollande left the Invalides monument walking alone.

He announced on Thursday that Russia and France will co-ordinate their military strikes against Islamic State, which claimed responsibility for the attacks.

Speaking after talks in Moscow with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin, Mr Hollande also emphasised his own view that Syrian president Bashar Assad has no place in the country’s future.

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