Hundreds of people gathered on Saturday in the French Riviera city of Nice to honour the victims of a attack on Bastille Day that left 86 people dead and hundreds wounded.

"What was hit on the 14 of July was our national unity," French President Francois Hollande said, addressing some 800 victims and family members on a hillside to the east of the Mediterranean bay.

"That is the monstrous target of terrorists: Hit some to scare others. Unleash violence to breed division. Arouse fear to feed distrust and stigmatization. And I say to you: No. This heinous enterprise will fail. Unity, liberty and humanity will, at the end of the day, prevail," Hollande said.

In a solemn hour-long ceremony under a bright blue sky, some 2,500 attendees, including security forces, French politicians, local officials and dignitaries, including Prince Albert of neighbouring Monaco, watched as Hollande reviewed the troops and a military band rendered the national anthem.

Cindy Pellegrini, who lost family members during the attack on July 14, gave a short address, asking, "how to live with these physical wounds, these moral wounds, how to live following the loss of a child, a wife, a husband, a mother, a dad?

"This is what we live with every day since July 14, 2016. Our family members were the joy of life, they demanded nothing other than to live and perpetuate those three principles of liberty, equality and fraternity."

After singer Julien Clerc performed, the names of each of the victims, including 15 children, was read out loud as students from a local secondary school placed white flowers on a plinth. Members of the local philharmonic orchestra performed Bach's Orchestral Suite 3 in D major.

On July 14, Tunisian-born Mohamed Lahouaiej Bouhlel ploughed a delivery truck into crowds gathered to see fireworks along the city's seaside promenade. The Islamic State militant group claimed responsibility, but investigators have not found a definitive link between the group and Lahouaiej Bouhlel.

The commemoration in Nice was taking place under high security, with most visitors driven up to the site of the ceremony in buses with police escorts.

The attack in Nice came after a string of coordinated shootings and suicide bombings in Paris on November 13, 2015, which left 130 people dead. A number of smaller scale attacks and attempted attacks over the summer, many carried out by people claiming to act in the name of Islamic State, have shaken the country.

In response to the attacks, France has remained in a nationwide state of emergency, which gives police expanded authority to conduct administrative searches. It has also ramped up military efforts against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq.

While France has increased internal surveillance to tamp down on home-grown radicalization, however, rifts have deepened across the country over how to deal with religious freedom and the French principle of laicite - which loosely translates to secularism.

The ceremony on Saturday in some ways represented a symbolic attempt to suture those divisions. "Everyone demanded this ceremony, the families, the victims, the people of Nice, the city of Nice - which is also a victim," regional president Christian Estrosi and conservative politician told Europe 1.

But not everyone was able to attend. "I have not gone to my job. I am incapable, now, physically, to return to the Promenade des Anglais," Vincent Delhomel-Desmarest, secretary general of the victims' organization, Association Promenade des Anges, told broadcaster iTele.

"Where I worked, there was carnage. Complete chaos. Those moments are still alive."

Latest news

Syrian opposition rules out future role for President al-Assad

The Syrian opposition said Friday it would not accept any role for President Bashar al-Assad in the future of the war-torn country, reacting to a recent US shift saying that removing al-Assad is no longer a priority for Washington.

Russian Army integrates breakaway forces of Georgian province

Parts of the small fighting forces of the Georgian breakaway province of South Ossetia have been placed under Russian military control, Russian Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu said on Friday.

Czech Republic's Pilsner Urquell beer is now Japanese

Japanese brewing company Asahi completed its takeover of the Czech brewery Pilsner Urquell on Friday, Asahi said in a statement.

Judge approves 25-million-dollar settlement of Trump University case

A US district judge on Friday approved a 25-million-dollar settlement of lawsuits and state fraud allegations against Trump University, the US president's now-defunct business venture.

Former Thai premier Thaksin to junta on reconciliation: 'Cut me out'

Former Thai prime minister Thaksin Shinawatra on Friday announced that he is not interested in the junta-led reconciliation process, three days after the junta handed him a half-a-billion-dollar tax bill for his past business deal.

Dalic: We welcome possible deal between Agrokor and banks

The government welcomes the possibility of an agreement being concluded between the Agrokor food company and creditor banks, and the bill on vitally important companies is not a fallback plan but the result of the government's care for the overall economic and financial stability of Croatia, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Economy Martina Dalic told a press conference in Zagreb on Friday.

Croatia, China sign action plan for cooperation in agriculture

The Croatian and Chinese ministries of agriculture on Friday signed an action plan for cooperation in the field of agriculture for the period 2017-2018, the Croatian ministry said in a statement.

ZSE indices up, Agrokor shares in focus of investor interest

The Zagreb Stock Exchange (ZSE) indices on Friday rose by more than 1.8%, with stocks of the Agrokor food and retail concern being in the focus of investor interest again.

Berlin police defend handling of Berlin market attacker

Berlin police defended themselves on Friday against accusations that they stopped surveillance on Berlin Christmas market attacker despite knowing in June 2016 he was dangerous.

Croatia, creditors tailor emergency measures to save tottering giant

Croatia's tottering retail and food giant Agrokor reached an agreement with its creditors, putting its debts standby and allowing it to continue working during emergency restructuring, the Croatian branch of Austria's Erste Bank said Friday.

Agrokor's creditors say standstill agreement to go into force today

A standstill agreement regarding the Agrokor concern's existing financial obligations to banks will take effect on Friday, additional capital will be injected into the concern in the coming days and the concern will be actively restructured, which includes a change of its management, it was said on Friday after a meeting between Agrokor's suppliers and creditor banks.

Palestinians, UN slam Israel's new settlement plan

Palestinians, Israeli activists and the UN lambasted the government of Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on Friday, a day after it gave the go-ahead for the first new West Bank settlement in a quarter of a century.

South Sudan rebels release three abducted foreign oil workers

South Sudanese rebels have released three foreign engineers they abducted in early March in the oil-rich Upper Nile region, Foreign Affairs Ministry official Mawein Makol Arik said on Friday.

Turkish opposition: Imprisoned party chief has gone on hunger strike

The head of Turkey's pro-Kurdish opposition party has launched a hunger strike from prison.

European leagues threaten Champions League schedule clashes

The European Professional Football Leagues (EPFL) on Friday threatened schedule clashes on Champions League matchdays in an ongoing dispute with the governing body UEFA.

Danish court revokes citizenship of IS volunteer

A Danish appellate court on Friday stripped a man of his Danish citizenship for volunteering to fight for the extremist Islamic State in Syria.

Banks and Agrokor agree on key elements of standstill agreement

Member banks of the coordinating committee of financial creditors and representatives of the Agrokor food company have in principle agreed on key elements of a standstill agreement, which is expected to be signed later today, announcing changes in the company's management team, Erste Bank said in a statement on Friday afternoon.

Syrian man on trial in Sweden; mosque attack labelled terrorism

A Syrian man went on trial Friday in the southern Swedish city of Malmo, charged with terrorism and arson after an attack last year on a building used as an assembly hall by Shiite Muslims.