A series of attacks
targeting young concert-goers, soccer fans and Parisians enjoying a
Friday night out at popular nightspots killed at least 120 people in the
deadliest violence to strike France since World War II. President
Francois Hollande condemned it as terrorism and pledged that France
would stand firm against its foes.
The worst carnage was at a
concert hall hosting an American rock band, where scores of people were
held hostage and attackers ended the standoff by detonating explosive
belts. Police who stormed the building encountered a bloody scene of
When the attacks were over, eight attackers were
dead — seven of them in suicide explosions, one killed by security
forces in the music venue, Paris prosecutor's spokeswoman Agnes Thibault-Lecuivre told The Associated Press.
could not exclude the possibility that some attackers might still be at
large. Authorities are searching for possible accomplices.
death toll was at least 120 people at six sites, including the national
stadium and a circle of popular nightspots, Thibault-Lecuivre said.
was no immediate claim of responsibility for the attacks. Jihadists on
Twitter immediately praised them and criticized France's military
operations against Islamic State extremists. Witnesses in the concert
hall described hearing attackers say "Allahu Akbar."
declared a state of emergency and announced that he was closing the
country's borders, although officials later said they were just
re-imposing border checks that had been removed after Europe created its
free-travel zone in the 1980s.
Metro lines shut down and streets
emptied on the mild fall evening as fear spread through the city, still
aching from the horrors of the Charlie Hebdo attack just 10 months ago.
attack unfolded with and three suicide bombings outside the national
stadium during a soccer match between the French and German national
teams, Thibault-Lecuivre said.
Within minutes, according to Paris
police chief Michel Cadot, another group of attackers sprayed cafes
outside the concert hall with machine gunfire, then stormed inside and
opened fire on the panicked audience. As police closed in, three
detonated explosive belts, killing themselves.
Another attacker detonated a suicide bomb on Boulevard Voltaire, near the music hall, the prosecutor's office said.
who had to be evacuated from the stadium when the bombs went off
outside, later vowed that the nation would stand firm and united: "A
determined France, a united France, a France that joins together and a
France that will not allow itself to be staggered even if today, there
is infinite emotion faced with this disaster, this tragedy, which is an
abomination, because it is barbarism."
In addition to the deaths
at the concert hall, dozens were killed in an attack on a restaurant in
the 10th arrondissement and several other establishments crowded on a
Friday night, police said. Authorities said at least three people died
when the bombs went off outside the soccer stadium.
All of the
officials spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not
authorized to be publicly named in the quickly moving investigation.
is a terrible ordeal that again assails us," Hollande said in a
nationally televised address. "We know where it comes from, who these
criminals are, who these terrorists are."
U.S. President Barack Obama, speaking to reporters in Washington, decried an "attack on all humanity," calling the Paris
violence an "outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians" and
vowing to do whatever it takes to help bring the perpetrators to
Two explosions were heard outside the Stade de France stadium north of Paris
during a France-Germany exhibition soccer game. A police union
official, Gregory Goupil of the Alliance Police Nationale, whose region
includes the area of the stadium, said there were two suicide attacks
and a bombing that killed at least three people near two entrances and a
The blasts penetrated the sounds of cheering fans,
according to an Associated Press reporter in the stadium. Sirens were
immediately heard, and a helicopter was circling overhead.
has heightened security measures ahead of a major global climate
conference that starts in two weeks, out of fear of violent protests and
potential terrorist attacks. Hollande canceled a planned trip to this
weekend's G-20 summit in Turkey, which was to focus in large part on
growing fears of terrorism carried out by Islamic extremists.
Macchio, from Ravenna, Italy, was at Le Carillon restaurant, one of the
restaurants targeted, having a beer on the sidewalk, when the shooting
started. He said he didn't see any gunmen or victims, but hid behind a
corner, then ran away.
"It sounded like fireworks," he said.
has been on edge since January, when Islamic extremists attacked the
satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which had run cartoons of the Prophet
Muhammad, and a kosher grocery. Twenty people died, including the three
attackers. The Charlie Hebdo attackers claimed links to extremists in
Yemen, while the kosher market attacker claimed ties to the Islamic
This time, they targeted young people enjoying a rock concert and ordinary city residents enjoying a Friday night out.
of the targeted restaurants, Le Carillon, is in the same general
neighborhood as the Charlie Hebdo offices, as is the Bataclan, among the
best-known venues in eastern Paris, near the
trendy Oberkampf area known for a vibrant nightlife. The
California-based band Eagles of Death Metal was scheduled to play there
Among the first physicians to respond to the wounded
Friday was Patrick Pelloux, an emergency room doctor and former Charlie
Hebdo writer who was among the first to enter the offices Jan. 7 to
find his friends and colleagues dead.
The country has seen several
smaller-scale attacks or attempts since, including an incident on a
high-speed train in August in which American travelers thwarted an
attempted attack by a heavily armed man.
France's military is
bombing Islamic State targets in Syria and Iraq and fighting extremists
in Africa, and extremist groups have frequently threatened France in the
French authorities are particularly concerned about the
threat from hundreds of French Islamic radicals who have travelled to
Syria and returned home with skills to stage violence.
was unclear who was responsible for Friday night's violence, the Islamic
State is "clearly the name at the top of everyone's list," said Brian
Michael Jenkins, a terrorism expert and senior adviser to the president
of the Washington-based RAND Corporation.
Jenkins said the tactic
used — "multiple attackers in coordinated attacks at multiple locations"
— echoed recommendations published in the extremist group's online
magazine, Dabbiq, over the summer.
"The big question on everyone's
mind is, were these attackers, if they turn out to be connected to one
of the groups in Syria, were they homegrown terrorists or were they
returning fighters from having served" with the Islamic State group,
Jenkins said. "That will be a huge question."