UPDATE: Paris prosecutors are reporting that as many as 128 people were killed on Friday night following multiple explosions and shootings. It’s the deadliest attack on France since World War II. About 100 people are severely injured.
The coordinated assaults, which began after 9:15 p.m. local time, saw multiple explosions and shootings at six sites across the city at restaurants, soccer stadium and a concert hall.
At least 70 hostages were killed at the Bataclan theater, where the California-based Eagles of Death Metal band were performing a sold-out concert. Gunfire could be heard from inside the theater late Friday. The hostage situation ended around 1 a.m. with three terrorists shot down by French special forces.
According to the police chief, attackers at all six locations are believed to be dead. Out of the eight terrorists who have been reported dead, seven of them blew themselves up, according to Le Monde newspaper.
The assaults took place in some of Paris’ liveliest, hippest neighborhoods in the 10th and 11th districts on a warm and busy Friday evening. One of the main sites of the assault, the Bataclan is located about 200 meters from the newsroom of satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, where terrorists killed 12 staff members on Jan. 7. In the 10th district, a man armed with a Kalashnikov rifle stormed a restaurant and shot randomly at patrons, according to BFMTV.
French terror analysts have noted the singularity of the attack in terms of its massive scope, as well as the presence of Kamikazes in Paris and the fact that they targeted random French citizens.
France President Francois Hollande, appearing visibly shocked during a live press conference, called it an “unprecedented terrorist attack … a horror.” He also launched a state of emergency and shut the nation’s borders. He said France would wage a “merciless battle against terrorists… They will be punished.”
Hollande had been evacuated earlier Friday night from Stade de France, the country’s national stadium, after three explosions rocked the football arena during a friendly match between France and Germany. The stadium reportedly has been put on lockdown and is being evacuated in sections.
Although the suspects have not yet been identified, witnesses inside the Bataclan reported that the shooters screamed “This is for Syria, this is for Syria” before gunning down patrons.
|The locations of the November 13th Paris terrorists attacks with the Gare du Norde in the center for reference.|
Local channel France 24 reports that at least six shootouts were perpetrated by gunmen across Paris.
President Barack Obama also condemned the attacks, which he called “heartbreaking,” in a nationally television address from the White House.
“This isn’t just an attack on France. … It’s an attack on all of humanity,” he said.
France’s Canal Plus reported that the attack outside of the Stade de France was executed by two suicide bombers and that the bombs were crudely built with nails.
Paris officials have told local citizens to stay indoors as the city remains on high alert.
|PHOTOS: Paris Terror Attacks|