France has declared a state of emergency and closed its international borders on Friday evening, in the wake of the most deadly terror attack in the nation’s modern history.
French President Francois Hollande announced the unprecedented steps in remarks to the nation roughly two hours after reports first emerged of a string of deadly attacks that had killed dozens of people across Paris. He also called a midnight cabinet meeting, he said, to respond to the string of violence that has rocked the French capital.
“What the terrorists want is to make us afraid, to seize us with fear,” Hollande said.
“There is something to be afraid of, but faced with this fear, there’s a nation which defends itself and mobilizes itself and which will once again be able to overcome the terrorists.”
The nearly unheard of step of closing the country’s borders is necessary “to assure ourselves that no one can enter to commit any act, whatever that may be,” Hollande insisted.
The French leader also called for the military to come in to assist local police, and called for a state of emergency that may enact restrictions on travel and force some offices to close.
Hollande has also canceled his planned attendance to a Group of 20 nations meeting in Turkey beginning this weekend, according to multiple reports.
The announcements came after a string of violence that had killed dozens of people in what appeared to be a series of coordinated attacks across Paris.
The violence amounts to the deadliest attacks in France since World War II.
No one has yet to take responsibility for the attacks, and Hollande did not specifically point the finger at any group in particular.
Yet analysts watching the scene were quick to speculate that the perpetrators may be linked to the Islamic State in Iraq in Syria (ISIS), which has drawn more than 1,000 French people to the Middle East. Hundreds of those are believed to have returned to France, stoking alarm among the French public about the prospects for radical violence.
“We know where this is coming, who these terrorists are,” Hollande said, appearing to implicate Islamic extremists.
“This is a terrible hardship which is striking us.”
“In such difficult times, I have thought for the victims — for there are numerous victims — for the families, for the wounded,” Hollande said in his remarks on Friday. “France must be strong and great and the state must be strong.”
This story was updated at 7:22 p.m.