128 Dead in Multiple Shootings and Explosions in Paris as Terror Strikes France

128 Dead in Multiple Shootings and Explosions in Paris as Terror Strikes France

Gunmen killed 128 people in at least three separate attacks and an explosion at a soccer game in Paris, France, on Friday night. The death toll may climb higher, as authorities are still drawing an exact picture of what happened at each of the locations. According to Paris prosecutor François Molins, at least six locations overall saw attacks.

The attacks were the deadliest in France in one day since World War II.

Casualties are known to have occurred at the Bataclan concert hall, where more than 100 died; at two restaurants, where at least 30 were killed; and at the Stade de France soccer stadium, where at least three died in what appeared to have been multiple suicide bombings.

According to French radio Europe 1, shots have also been fired at Les Halles, a shopping mall in the first arrondissement, in the heart of Paris. The French government has triggered its Red Alpha plan, an emergency response reserved for multiple terrorist attacks. President François Hollande announced on television that France has declared a state of emergency. Radio France Info has reported prosecutor François Molins as saying that assailants coud still be at large, but the chief of Paris police later said all attackers are believed to be dead. While there is no information on the total number of attackers, the number of those known to have been killed is now eight. Agence France Presse reported that eight militants have been killed, citing investigators. Sources at the Interior Ministry cited by Le Monde also said eight assailants had been killed: 4 at Bataclan, 3 at  the Stade de France stadium, and one who blew himself up outside the Comptoir Voltaire bar, on Boulevard Voltaire. The Interior Ministry has said it would wait several hours before announcing a death toll, because of the number of victims in critical condition. An emergency doctor, Patrick Pelloux, told newspaper Le Monde that the victims he tended to had “war wounds.” One of the shootings occurred in a Cambodian restaurant located in the capital’s 10th arrondissement, to the east of central Paris. According to witnesses, shots rang out at Le Petit Cambodge, 18 Rue Alibert, in the République neighborhood. According to CNN, 14 people were killed there.


The second shooting took place in a restaurant in the 11th arrondissement, near the historic Bataclan concert hall.

“We heard at least 20 shots being fired. They were automatic weapons, repeated shots,” a witness who lives near Faidherbe Chaligny subway station, in the 11th arrondissement, told VICE News.

A woman who lives on Rue Bichat, overlooking the scene of the restaurant shooting, told VICE News upon condition of anonymity that police were ordering people to stay inside apartments and restaurants.

Another shooting occurred at 90 Rue de Chaconne, where a Twitter user posted a photo of bodies covered by sheets in the streets.

A witness to the attack described the scene to French daily Libération: “I didn’t know if it was firecrackers or gunshots. A car was parked in the middle of the street. Two people got out of the car. They had guns. I heard gunshot. Lots of shots being fired. […] It lasted at least three minutes. People were panicking. Then they got back in the car and drove in the direction of the Charonne subway station.” Gunmen then stormed a concert hall, the Bataclan, where American band Eagles of Death Metal was playing to a sold-out crowd, and took hostages. Witnesses who managed to escape told CNN and other media that the gunmen were systematically executing concertgoers who were hiding. Police then stormed the hall and killed two gunmen. They said more than 100 people were dead inside the theater.  The venue’s capacity is around 1,500. According to the Interior Ministry, no police officers were killed in the raid at the Bataclan, but one was injured.

A witness inside the concert hall who managed to leave the building tweeted that a manopened fire from the back of the room.

“We are still currently trying to determine the safety and whereabouts of all our band and crew,” the band’s Facebook page said this evening. “Our thoughts are with all of the people involved in this tragic situation.” French President François Hollande later visited the concert hall, where he said that terrorists who had been hiding out close to the venue had been killed. Flanked by Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve and Prime Minister Manuel Valls, Hollande thanked the emergency services who had assisted the wounded. He said he wanted to be among “those who had witnessed these horrific things” to say that France would wage “a merciless fight” against terror.”  Le Monde reports that Hollande has spoken to Barack Obama on the phone, to discuss the two countries’ shared commitment to the war on terror.

Related: French President Declares State of Emergency, Closes Borders, Calls In Army

Earlier in the evening, Hollande had been at soccer game between Germany and France at the Stade de France — a soccer stadium located just north of Paris in the commune of Saint-Denis, when at least one bomb exploded.

At least three people died in the bombing. French radio RTL has described the explosion as a suicide attack, but VICE News can’t confirm that report.

TV images showed spectators in the stands gathered on the playing field, after the match was suspended.

Jeremy Allen, a 42-year old British writer who was at the stadium during the explosions, told VICE News that he heard the first blast but just thought it was a flare. It wasn’t until a second explosion, Allen said, that he realized what might be happening. “It shook the stadium,” he added. A bomb squad closed off the exits and Allen said he had to wait another 20 to 30 minutes “trapped there,” inside the stadium, before security officials opened the exits. Most of the people in the 81,000-seat stadium, which Allen estimated was about 80 percent full at the time of the attack, were “oblivious” that bombs were going off right outside.

Allen couldn’t tell exactly where the explosions came from. He made it back home to his apartment in Paris on public transport, in what a described as an “eerie” quiet.

1,500 extra soldiers have been deployed in the streets, says a statement from the presidential office.

The government has passed two decrees: one declaring a state of national emergency with immediate effect, the second allowing police in Paris to keep “dangerous” persons under house arrest and to temporarily close all concert halls and theaters.

Paris municipal authorities have announced that city facilities, including schools, museums, leisure centers, swimming pools, and markets would be closed Saturday.

The French Council of the Muslim Faith has “vigorously condemned” these “abject and heinous” attacks.

Social media users have started a #portesouvertes (open doors) hashtag to offer shelter to those who have been left stranded by the attacks and by the subsequent halt of public transport. The mayor of Paris, Anne Hidalgo, said the terrorists had targeted the youth of Paris and their freedom, and announced that support cells had been set up in the city for those who witnessed the attacks.

 

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