Israelis who went to bed before midnight woke up this morning to horrifying news. The same brand of Islamist terror that has plagued the Jewish state for the last ten months had once again exploded in France. This time it happened in the coastal city of Nice.
Just past 10:30 in the evening of a national holiday, Bastille Day, revelers in the thousands were on the streets, just returning from watching fireworks at the beach. As they flooded onto the Promenade des Anglais, a heavy duty commercial truck accelerated into the mass of civilians. Plowing them down for about 2 kilometers (1.25 miles), as many as 84 people were murdered and more than 300 wounded.
One witness to the horror, French journalist Damien German, reported that, as the truck flew past only meters away, "I saw bodies flying like bowling pins in its path."
Peppered with gunfire, the 19-ton vehicle was difficult to stop, In the end, however, the terrorist, a 31 year old Franco-Tunisian man, was shot dead. Finally, the vehicle, like its driver, shuddered to an end.
In the name of Allah, ISIS quickly celebrated the slaughter and claimed responsibility, saying the attack was retaliation for the recent death of its "minister of war," Abu Omar al-Shishani. According to US officials, he was killed by a US airstrike in Syria sometime last March.
Shortly after the attack, one jihadi posted to the ISIS al-Minbar forum, "This is the beginning of the attack to take the holy revenge for the killing of Abu Omar Shishani, may Allah accept him.”
Clarifying the Islamic motivation for the slaughter, another ISIS member tweeted "Oh France, you and the all Europe will never be secure until we will live secure on every inch in the land of the Caliphate."
This morning, Israel's President and Prime Minister issued statements.
Reuven Rivilin, Israel's President, said, "It is with pain and sorrow that I must once again write and express my deepest condolences, and those of all the Israeli people, following the horrific terror attack in Nice."
For his part, Prime Minister Netanyahu expressed "Israel condemns in the strongest terms last night's horrific attack in Nice. We are again reminded that terrorism can strike anywhere and must be fought everywhere."
Only two years ago, Netanyahu appeared on French television. In an interview with Laurence Haim, he warned that Islamist terror striking Israel would expand, even into France.
"It's not Israel's battle; it's your battle," he said. "If they succeed here, if Israel is the one who's blamed here and not the terrorists, if we don't stand together, this terrorist plague will come to you. It's just a question of time. It will come to you. It will come to France."
This year France has sponsored a call for an International Conference on the Middle East, a move supported by the European Union. In Israel, the effort is regarded as an attempt to force Israel to accept the creation of Palestinian state apart from negotiation with the Jewish state as required under international law. In recent years, Western nations have been quick to condemn Israel for everything from construction in its capital city to its defense of civilians from rocket bombardment. In contrast, they have been virtually silent about Palestinian-Islamist terror attacks against Israelis.
Today, at least, France is identifying its wave of terror in a way that most Western nations have refused to do. Speaking to the press this morning, President Francois Hollande announced that “France as a whole is under the threat of Islamic terrorism.”
Israel agrees. And grieves.
Brian Schrauger is Editor-in-Chief of The Jerusalem Journal