France, Spain honor hundreds of terrorism victims, vow unity
PARIS (AP) — The president of France and the king of Spain paid homage Wednesday to victims of terrorism in a special ceremony prompted by attacks that hit both their countries and changed Europe’s security posture.
France's Emmanuel Macron and Spain's King Felipe and Queen Letizia led a ceremony on Trocadero plaza overlooking the Eiffel Tower with survivors of terrorist attacks and families of victims. The European Union chose March 11 as a day of continent-wide commemoration of terrorism victims after the Madrid train bombing on March 11, 2004 that killed nearly 200 people and woke Europe up to 21st century threats of Islamic extremism.
Macron paid tribute to the victims of a string of attacks in France, starting with shootings in 2012 that killed children at a Jewish school, a rabbi and paratroopers in the Toulouse region. Extremists claiming links to the Islamic State group or Al-Qaida hit France repeatedly in 2015 and 2016. Among their victims: cartoonists at satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, shoppers at a kosher market, concert-goers at the Bataclan, diners in Paris cafes, an elderly priest at the altar, holiday revelers on the seaside of Nice, and several police officers.