ISIS Strikes Paris With Multiple Terror Attacks; 129 Reported Dead; France Closes Its Borders
This story is developing and being updated.
At least 129 people are dead and over 350 are injured after a coordinated series of terror attacks throughout Paris Friday night.
President François Hollande called the attacks an “act of war,” and declared a state of emergency and said that the country would close its borders. The military was being mobilized and travel may be restricted, he said.
Concertgoers were held hostage in the Bataclan Theater, where an American rock band — Eagles of Death Metal — had been scheduled to perform. CNN reported that there were six to eight attackers, and eyewitnesses reported sounds of screams and gunfighters.
Julien Pearce, a radio reporter who was in attendance at the concert, described men dressed in black, carrying Kalashnikovs, firing into the tightly packed crowd for 10 to 15 minutes. Describing the scene to CNN, Pearce said: “They said nothing. They just shot. They were just shooting into people.”
“It was a bloodbath,” he said.
Police raided the building, bringing the siege to a close, but it was unclear initially how many of the hostages were killed. Eighty-seven people were killed in the concert hall alone, and bodies were still being recovered on Saturday morning.
The assaults came as France, a founder member of the U.S.-led coalition waging air strikes against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq, was on high alert for terrorist attacks.
It was the worst such attack in Europe since the Madrid train bombings of 2004, in which 191 died.
Hollande said the attacks had been organized from abroad by Islamic State with internal help.
“Faced with war, the country must take appropriate action,” he said after an emergency meeting of security chiefs. He also announced three days of national mourning.
Former president Nicolas Sarkozy added in a statement: “The war we must wage should be total.”
During a visit to Vienna, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said “we are witnessing a kind of medieval and modern fascism at the same time.”
In its claim of responsibility, Islamic State said the attacks were a response to France’s campaign against its fighters.
It also distributed an undated video in which a militant said France would not live peacefully as long it took part in U.S.-led bombing raids against them.
“As long as you keep bombing you will not live in peace. You will even fear traveling to the market,” said a bearded Arabic-speaking militant, flanked by other fighters.
A French government source told Reuters there were 127 dead, 67 in critical condition and 116 wounded. Six attackers blew themselves up and one was shot by police. There may have been an eighth attacker, but this is not confirmed.
The attacks, in which automatic weapons and explosives belts were used, lasted 40 minutes.
“The terrorists, the murderers, raked several cafe terraces with machine-gun fire before entering (the concert hall). There were many victims in terrible, atrocious conditions in several places,” police prefect Michel Cadot told reporters.
Three restaurants, the Petit Cambodge in the 11th district, Le Carillon in the 10th and La Belle Equipe in the 11th, were all attacked by men with guns, according to the BBC.
The French National Stadium was hosting a soccer match this evening between France and Germany, when, AP reported, two suicide attacks and one bombing occurred. French President François Hollande was in attendance, and was taken to safety.
A Vine of the game is circulating, where players are seen stopping at the sound of the explosion.
Some crazy stuff going down in Paris. Explosion just ouside Stade de France https://t.co/43BgTE0V39
— Terje (@ArsenalTerje) November 13, 2015
Reuters reports that American security officials believe the attacks were coordinated. Officials believe that the death toll will climb, with President Hollande calling the attacks “unprecedented.”
It is unclear how many gunmen were involved in the attacks.
In a press briefing, President Obama called the attacks “outrageous,” and said that the French values of liberty, equality, and fraternity would endure “beyond any act of terrorism.”
CNN reported that Islamic State sympathizers were celebrating the attacks on Twitter.
A general view of the scene shows rescue service personnel working near the covered bodies outside a restaurant following a shooting incident in Paris, France, November 13, 2015. REUTERS/Philippe Wojazer