France has declared a national state of emergency and tightened borders after at least 120 people were killed in a night of gun and bomb attacks in Paris.
Eighty people were reported killed after gunmen burst into the Bataclan concert hall and took hostages before security forces stormed the hall.
People were shot dead at restaurants and bars at five other sites in Paris. Eight attackers are reported killed.
These are the deadliest attacks in Europe since the 2004 Madrid bombings.
French President Francois Hollande, visibly shaken, called Friday night’s events “a horror” and vowed to wage a “merciless” fight against terrorism.
Paris saw three days of attacks in early January, when Islamist gunmen murdered 18 people after attacking satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, a Jewish supermarket and a policewoman on patrol.
The attack on the 1,500-seat Bataclan hall was by far the deadliest of Friday night’s attacks. Gunmen opened fire on concert-goers watching US rock group Eagles of Death Metal. The event had been sold out.
“At first we thought it was part of the show but we quickly understood,” Pierre Janaszak, a radio presenter, told Agence France Presse.
“They didn’t stop firing. There was blood everywhere, corpses everywhere. We heard screaming. Everyone was trying to flee.”
He said the gunmen took 20 hostages, and he heard one of them tell their captives: “It’s the fault of Hollande, it’s the fault of your president, he should not have intervened in Syria”.
Within an hour, security forces had stormed the concert hall and all four attackers there were dead. Three had blown themselves up and a fourth was shot dead by police.
Bataclan concert venue, 50 boulevard Voltaire, 11th district – gun and suicide bomb attacks
Stade de France, St Denis, just north of Paris – explosions near venue as France played Germany in football friendly
Le Carillon bar, 18 rue Alibert, 10th district – gun attack
Le Petit Cambodge restaurant, 20 rue Alibert, 10th district – gun attack
La Belle Equipe, 92 rue de Charonne, 11th district – gun attack
La Casa Nostra restaurant, 2 rue de la Fontaine au roi, 11th district – gun attack
Meanwhile, not far from the Place de la Republique and the Place de la Bastille, three busy restaurants and a bar were targeted by gunmen armed with Kalashnikovs.
Around 40 people were killed as customers were singled out at venues including a pizza restaurant and a Cambodian restaurant, Le Petit Cambodge.
“We heard the sound of guns, 30-second bursts. It was endless. We thought it was fireworks,” Pierre Montfort, a resident living close to Le Petit Cambodge said.
The other target was the Stade de France, on the northern fringe of Paris, where President Hollande and 80,000 other spectators were watching a friendly international between France and Germany, with a TV audience of millions more.
The president was whisked to safety after the first of at least two explosions just outside the venue to convene an emergency cabinet meeting. Three attackers were reportedly killed there.
As the extent of the bloodshed became clear, Mr Hollande went on national TV to announce a state of emergency for the first time in France since 2005. The decree enables the authorities to close public places and impose curfews and restrictions on the movement of traffic and people.
Police believed all of the gunmen were dead – seven killed themselves with explosives vests and one was shot dead by the security forces – but it was unclear if any accomplices were still on the run.
Paris residents have been asked to stay indoors and about 1,500 military personnel are being deployed across the city. All schools, museums, libraries, gyms, swimming pools and markets will be shut on Saturday as well as Disneyland Paris.
US President Barack Obama spoke of “an outrageous attempt to terrorise innocent civilians”.
UK PM David Cameron said he was shocked and pledged to do “whatever we can to help”.
The Vatican called it “an attack on peace for all humanity” and said “a decisive, supportive response” was needed “on the part of all of us as we counter the spread of homicidal hatred in all its forms”.
It’s just 10 months since Paris was the scene of multiple terrorist attacks, first the massacre of staff at the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo and then a hostage-taking at a Jewish supermarket.
What happened in Paris on Friday night is exactly what Europe’s security services have long feared, and tried to foil. Simultaneous, rolling attacks, with automatic weapons and suicide bombers in the heart of a major European city, targeting multiple, crowded public locations.
The tactics have been used before, in Mumbai and elsewhere. But how they’ve come to Europe is one of many questions that will have to be answered.
Were the attackers French citizens? If so, how they were radicalised, armed and organised – was it in France, in Syria, and by whom? Why weren’t they detected? Is France, after two major attacks this year, uniquely vulnerable or does the carnage in Paris mean all of Europe faces new threats to our public places and events? And if a Syrian link is proven, will France recoil from that conflict or will it redouble its commitment to the fight against radical groups there?
Read more here.
President Hussein Obama, the same man who called the slaughter of customers in a Jewish deli a “random shooting,” is now saying he doesn’t want to speculate on the identity of the Paris attackers, which is peculiar, he’s been open to speculation in the past with regards to American police and race relations (among other issues.) Still over this attack they have gone shy. While in other places globally, The Al-Hayat Media Center, apparently a “publication arm of the Islamic State” has called the Paris attacks “a miracle”, this isn’t surprising when we see such people shout “Allahu akbar” at a sight of explosions and missiles being driven passed in jeeps. Nevertheless, the rest of the Western media, and well-trained internet pundits, have wasted no time in covering the real stories, both of these were written within hours of the attacks:
Reporting on the victims has to take a rest I suppose, nominal Muslim believers and their feelings are at risk. Even football superstar Lionel (Leo) Messi wanted in on the defense of Muslim hypocrites, posting this on his twitter feed.
Not much of the “comedy” is really worth posting, but the main point, and a point you’ll undoubtedly be hearing a lot of from the mainstream media, is this: “There are over a billion Muslims in the world, if Islam REALLY promoted terror, we would all be dead by now.” How are reasonable people to understand this common objection? Well, it’s actually an easy thing to explain if we do so with compassion and sincerity, much of that 1.6 billion number isn’t out for your blood, that’s because they’re not really Muslims. Do all Christians turn the other cheek? Nope, does every Buddhist meditate? Not at all. They are what they are in name only, or they’re what they are in part, they aren’t the finished article and sometimes don’t want to be. So-called Muslims who want desperately to sing songs with all the nations and wave a rainbow flag are just hypocrites, hypocrites don’t show us anything about Islam except how to disobey its rules.
To this however there’s another objection, which would read something like: “Who are you to say they aren’t REAL Muslims?” Now there’s an obvious problem here isn’t there, if I’m not in any position to say the terrorists are “really real Muslims”, then how can anyone on the other said say that the peaceful Muslims are really real Muslims?! I judge who is and isn’t a Muslim based on the example of Islam’s founder, the pedophile and mass murderer Mohammad, who employed rape, beheading and terror (yes terror) in the spread of his beliefs. Why wouldn’t Muslims today do the same then? Nevertheless, I can’t predict if yet another terror attack will cause change in the public narrative, although I can guarantee a wave of pro-Muslim, pro-Islamic propaganda will be on your television, mobile and computer screens very soon, it’s time again to pacify the grieving masses.
― T. C. M