President Francois Hollande said in his New Year’s Eve address to the nation Thursday that France “has not finished with terrorism yet.”
Speaking six weeks after gunmen and suicide bombers killed 130 people in Paris, Hollande said the threat of another attack “remains at its highest level.”
After a year in which jihadists also attacked the French satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and a Jewish supermarket, Hollande said his “first duty” was to protect the French people.
“That means attacking the root of the evil, in Syria and Iraq. That is why we have intensified our air strikes against Daesh,” he said, using another name for the Islamic State (IS) group.
Hollande said IS was suffering from the assault.
“The hits are taking their toll, the jihadists are in retreat, so we will continue as long as necessary,” he added.
Hollande said he was “proud” of the French people for showing “solidarity and cool-headedness” after the attacks in January and in the wake of the carnage of November 13.
“Despite this tragedy, France did not give in,” Hollande said. “Despite the tears, it remained upright. Confronted by hate, it showed the strength of its values, the values of the Republic.”
More than 100,000 police are on duty across France for the New Year’s Eve celebrations, including 11,000 in Paris where the traditional fireworks display has been cancelled this year.