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Over 120 People Killed In Paris Attacks

November 13, 2015
by RFE/RL

French President Francois Hollande has declared a state of emergency after multiple bomb and shooting attacks in Paris left at least 120 people dead.

French police say around 100 people were killed by gunmen in a concert hall in Paris as others were shot dead at a restaurant and died in suicide bombings near the country's largest soccer stadium.

The multiple attacks in the French capital late November 13 constituted the worst terrorist attack in the country's history.

More than 120 victims were killed at six sites around the city, Paris Public Prosecutor Francois Molins said.

Eight attackers also are dead, seven of whom killed themselves with suicide belts, and more militants may still be at large, the prosecutor's office said.

At the scene of the worst carnage, the gunmen entered the Bataclan concert hall as it was hosting an American rock band and held as many as 1,500 concert-goers there hostage as they went on a shooting spree.

Eyewitnesses present in the hall during the attacks said the gunmen, some shouting 'God is great' in Arabic, systematically shot dead hostages as frantic music fans tried to hide or laid on the floor with their heads covered.

Some victims were killed when the militants set off their suicide vests as the hall was stormed by elite French forces, which managed to shoot and kill one of the attackers before he set off his suicide bomb.

French President Francois Hollande vowed to be ruthless with any attackers and accomplices who remained alive.

Calling the attacks an 'abomination' and 'barbarism,' he vowed, 'We will lead the fight. We will be merciless.'

While Hollande declared that 'we know who these terrorists are,' authorities did not disclose what they know about the attackers and no groups immediately claimed responsibility for what appeared to be coordinated attacks.

Intelligence analysts said the Islamic State, which has been the target of French and Western air strikes in Syria, is a principle suspect. IS also was named most often in chatter on Internet sites where extremist sympathizers were celebrating the attacks.

Parisian authorities asked people to stay in their homes in case gunmen are still loose in the city and all of the city's metro lines were closed. Though many of the attackers were killed, police were searching for possible accomplices.

Borders Closed

Hollande declared a state of emergency and said he had closed the country's borders. Some 1,500 French soldiers were deployed in Paris.

Hollande canceled his participation in the G20 summit on major world economies in Turkey slated for November 14 and called a Defense Council meeting at the Elysee Palace.

First reports of the multipronged attacks were at a restaurant in the city center where no less than 11 people were killed when at least two gunmen opened fire upon them.

Many others were wounded and the gunmen are believe to have fled the scene.

At roughly the same time, several other gunmen attacked central Paris's Bataclan theater, where a concert by an American rock band, the Eagles of Death Metal, was taking place.

Eyewitnesses said up to four unmasked gunmen burst into the concert hall while the show was going on and started randomly shooting people.

One reporter attending the concert told CNN that the shooting continued for several minutes and people dove on the floor trying to shield themselves.

He said many concert-goers were killed and many more wounded. Some reports said the gunmen were executing hostages one by one.

The fate of the band was unknown. 'We are still currently trying to determine the safety and whereabouts of all our band and crew,' the band said on its Facebook page.

At least three of the gunmen were killed by suicide belts after the hall was stormed by an elite French force hours after the assault began.

Meanwhile, multiple explosions were heard north of the city center near the Stade de France, where Germany and France were playing a friendly soccer match.

The explosions occurred in the first half of the match and alarmed many of the fans.

Hollande, Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve, and German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier were evacuated from the soccer match.

The match was not halted and spectators gathered on the field after the game, afraid to leave the stadium.

Those people slowly began leaving the stadium after being told it was safe to leave.

There are reports that at least one explosion was detonated by a suicide bomber.

'Heartbreaking Situation'

U.S. President Barack Obama said at the White House that the Paris attacks were an 'outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians.'

He said the events are a 'heartbreaking situation' and an 'attack on all of humanity.'

Obama said he did not want to speculate about who was behind the attacks.

'Whenever these kinds of attacks happen, we've always been able to count on the French people to stand with us. They have been an extraordinary counterterrorism partner. And we intend to be there with them in that same fashion,' he said

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, attending Syrian peace talks in Vienna, described the attacks as 'heinous, evil, vile,' and 'an assault on our common humanity.'

German Chancellor Angela Merkel said she is 'deeply shaken by the news and pictures that are reaching us from Paris.'

UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon is condemning 'the despicable terrorist attacks' in Paris.

The Paris attacks prompted authorities on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean and the Far East to impose heightened security measures.

Belgium announced tighter checks on its border with France, while Massachusetts, New York, and Washington, D.C. bolstered security in high-profile and crowded locations. Overall, U.S. authorities said they have seen no indication that similar attacks are impending in the United States.

Singapore increased security and alert levels, while the Phillippines police went on full alert as they prepared to host a summit of Asia-Pacific leaders in Manila next week.

The attacks in Paris come just 10 months after an attack by Islamist gunmen on the satirical magazine Charlie Hedbo headquarters in the French capital that left 12 dead.

With reporting by Liberation.fr, AP, AFP, CNN, and Reuters

Source: http://www.rferl.org/content/france-paris-shootout-explosions-casualties/27364156.html

Copyright (c) 2015. RFE/RL, Inc. Reprinted with the permission of Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, 1201 Connecticut Ave., N.W. Washington DC 20036.



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