'Tsunami of hatred' feared for Muslims in Paris

2015-11-14 11:30

LATEST: A community leader from Paris's working-class suburbs says he fears a "tsunami of hatred" may await Muslims and residents of poor neighbourhoods following the deadly terror attacks in the city.

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Last Updated at 16:49
14 Nov 15:50

IN SUMMARY: The Islamic State group on Saturday claimed responsibility for a wave of attacks in Paris that killed 128 people and said France would remain at the "top of the list" of its targets.

An online statement said eight militants armed with explosive belts and automatic weapons attacked carefully chosen targets in the "capital of adultery and vice," including a soccer stadium where France was playing Germany, and the Bataclan concert hall, where an American rock band was playing, and "hundreds of apostates were attending an adulterous party".

The statement said France and its supporters "will remain at the top of the list of targets of the Islamic State".

"The stench of death will not leave their noses as long as they remain at the forefront of the Crusaders' campaign, dare to curse our prophet, boast of a war on Islam in France, and strike Muslims in the lands of the caliphate with warplanes that were of no use to them in the streets and rotten alleys of Paris," it said.

France is part of the US-led coalition that has been striking the Islamic State group in Syria and Iraq for the past year, and has been targeted by jihadists in the past because of its perceived tolerance of speech deemed offensive to Islam.

The claim was made in statements in Arabic and French released online and circulated by supporters of the group. Supporters also circulated an audio version read by an unidentified speaker whose voice strongly resembled that of an announcer for the IS radio station Al-Bayan.

It was not immediately possible to confirm the authenticity of the statements, but they bore the extremists' logo and resembled previous ISIS statements.

The statements did not provide the nationalities or other information about the attackers.

French President Francois Hollande had earlier blamed the carnage on the Islamic State group and vowed to strike back.

French anti-terror police were working to identify potential accomplices. Authorities said eight attackers died, seven of them in suicide bombings, a new tactic in France. Police said they shot and killed the other assailant. - AP

Global leaders including US President Barack Obama and UK Prime Minister David Cameron condemned the attacks. The colours of the French flag also adourned famous sites around the world as countries pledged solidarity with France.

"Because it was attacked in a cowardly way, in a shameful way, in a violent way, France will be ruthless against the barbarians of Daesh," French President Francois Hollande said in an address to the nation, using the Arabic acronym for Islamic State. He called them "a terrorist army".

"It was an act of war that was prepared, organised or planned from outside and with domestic involvement that the investigation will allow to establish," he added. "All the measures to protect our fellow citizens and our territory have been taken."


14 Nov 15:05

14 Nov 14:53
Rumours of more gunshots in a Parisian suburb have turned out to be a false alarm.

14 Nov 14:50
In the video link below, this French man relates how his phone luckily saved him as schrapnel flew during the attacks. The video is from Reuters.

14 Nov 14:32
Two French police officials say a Syrian passport was found on the body of one of the suicide bombers who targeted France's national soccer stadium.

14 Nov 14:04

A community leader from Paris's working-class suburbs says he fears a "tsunami of hatred" may await Muslims and residents of poor neighbourhoods following the deadly terror attacks, AFP reports.

Nadir Kahia of the Banlieue Plus community association says its members are shocked and feel a sense of solidarity "but we know ... some Muslims and poor neighbourhoods" will be subjected to hate speech.

Kahia also called on Saturday for unity of French people and efforts to calm tensions in a text message to The Associated Press.


14 Nov 13:50
Pope Francis is the latest to condemn the attacks by claimed by Islamic State in France, saying he is shaken by the inhuman attacks.

14 Nov 13:35

AFP reports: In a statement claiming responsibility, Islamic State said "eight brothers wearing explosive belts and carrying assault rifles" conducted a "blessed attack on... Crusader France".

The statement, published in both Arabic and French, threatened further attacks against France "as long as it continues its Crusader campaign."

It said the targets of Friday's attacks, which included the national sports stadium and the Bataclan concert hall, "were carefully chosen".

It said France was guilty of "striking Muslims in the caliphate with their aircraft."France is part of a US-led coalition conducting an air war against IS in Syria and Iraq, where IS declared a caliphate last year after seizing swathes of both countries.

It has carried out air strikes in Iraq for more than a year but extended them to Syria in September.

French President Francois Hollande had already blamed IS, calling the coordinated assault an "act of war... committed by a terrorist army, Daesh, against France", using another term for IS.


14 Nov 13:10
 In a statement ISIS said its fighters, armed with suicide bomb belts and machine guns, carried out the terror strikes at various locations they had pinpointed in the heart of Paris.

14 Nov 13:01
Latest:

14 Nov 13:00

Some passengers who were scheduled to take an Air France flight from Johannesburg to Paris on Saturday evening have cancelled their bookings.

While France had declared a state of emergency and shut its borders following the attacks on Friday night, France's airports were still operational.


14 Nov 12:55
It is now being reported that a terminal at Gatwick Airport in the UK has been evacuated after a "package" was found.

14 Nov 12:48
If you're in Cape Town and are would like to show solidarity with the victims of the French tragecy, see below.

14 Nov 12:37
French President Francois Hollande said on Saturday that the Islamic State group had orchestrated the worst attacks in France since World War II and vowed to strike back.

14 Nov 11:53

German media reports that a 51-year-old man arrested last week after firearms were discovered in his car has been linked to the Paris attacks.

Public broadcaster Bayrischer Rundfunk reported on Saturday that German authorities informed French officials about the arrest of the man near the German-Austrian border on November 5.

It didn't provide a source for its information. Bavarian state police spokesperson Ludwig Waldinger confirmed that firearms, explosives and hand grenades had been found.

Waldinger told The Associated Press that "we are providing no further information at this point." - AP


14 Nov 11:36

“My friend Claire was celebrating her best friend's birthday at the concert. We don't have any news, the phones are going to answer machine.

"I'm supposed to get engaged to her in three weeks. I don't know if I'll ever see her again."

Yvan Pokossy, a 24-year-old party organiser, says he is anxiously searching for his fiancée after the attack on Bataclan theatre in Paris, where at least 82 people were killed.


14 Nov 11:26

WARNING: The following video contains graphic and upsetting images.

Concert goers are attacked outside the back entrance of the Bataclan theatre, where US rock band Eagles of Death Metal was performing in Paris.

At least 82 people were confirmed dead in this attack.


14 Nov 10:58
Following on from the conversations being had in the US, this tweet has garnered 49 000 retweets, after many on social media, particularly in the US, blamed the influx of Syrian refugees in France for the latest attacks.

14 Nov 10:55
US citizens, politicians and journalists have been weighing in on the latest Paris attacks, and some controversially so.

14 Nov 10:45
A woman places a lit candle outside the French embassy in Moscow. (AFP)

14 Nov 10:43

For those just catching up…

At least 153 people have been confirmed dead so far and more than 200 were injured in six separate attacks in Paris, the country's worst in decades.

- The first attack took place at a popular Cambodian restaurant at around 22:00 local time.

- Attacks then followed outside the Stade de France, where France was playing Germany in an international friendly.

- 82 people died at Bataclan concert hall, where US rock band Eagles of Death Metal was performing, the worst of the six attacks.

- Eight people carried out the attacks, while seven of them have been confirmed dead, some of them as suicides.

- No one has claimed responsibility for the attacks. French President Francois Hollande has declared a state of emergency.


14 Nov 10:20

Some 1 500 extra soldiers have been mobilized to guard French facilities, while schools and universities have been closed because of the country's deadliest attacks in decades.

Many French schools are normally open on Saturdays, but the French government ordered them shut as part of emergency security measures.

Soldiers were deployed at key sites around Paris, including Parliament buildings and religious sites.

The government has also re-imposed border controls that were abandoned as part of Europe's free-travel zone.

Border and customs officers will check people, baggage and vehicles entering and leaving France by road, train, sea or plane, said customs official Melanie Lacuire. - AP


14 Nov 10:14
More pictures of support from around the world:

14 Nov 10:05

Germany meanwhile has offered France the help of its special anti-terror unit in the wake of the Paris attacks.

Germany's Interior Minister Thomas des Maiziere said in a statement on Saturday that he is in touch with his French counterpart "and I have offered him the help of German special forces."

The GSG9 anti-terror unit was created after the attacks on the Munich Olympics in 1972 and saw its first major operation during the hijacking of a Lufthansa plane by a Palestinian group. - AP


14 Nov 10:00

Meanwhile...

Fire at refugee camp

A huge fire broke out at a refugee camp near the port of Calais in France on Friday night, just hours after attacks in Paris left more than 150 people dead.

Buzzfeed News reported that the fire started at about 23:00 but its cause was unknown.

There were no casualties, reported the UK’s Daily Mail, but many shelters were destroyed in the blaze.

Speculation on social media has suggested that the fires could be related to the latest series of attacks in Paris, as part of "revenge attacks".

This has not been confirmed though, and there is no proof yet that they are indeed related.


14 Nov 09:57
Twitters users shaken by empty streets after the City of Paris asked citizens to stay indoors and wait for further information.

14 Nov 09:47

"At first we thought it was part of the show but we quickly understood.

"They didn't stop firing. There was blood everywhere, corpses everywhere. We heard screaming. Everyone was trying to flee."

Pierre Janaszak, a radio presenter, relives his ordeal after sitting in the balcony with his sister and friends at a concert by US rock band Eagles of Death Metal in Paris.

At least 153 people have been confirmed dead in the six attacks thus far.


14 Nov 09:44
WATCH: Defiant French fans sing national anthem while evacuating stadium after bomb

14 Nov 09:41
One Twitter user has put his two plane tickets to Paris in December up for sale for a mere R309.

14 Nov 09:32

SAA said it code shares with individual airlines such as Lufthansa and had not been informed of changes by early Saturday morning.

So far:

-@AirFrance tweeted that flights to and from Paris were operating normally;

-@Reuters reports that American Airlines has delayed flights to Paris;

-@Delta said it would continue to fly but is monitoring the situation;

-@Aer Lingus expects to continue flying;

-@Easyjet continues to fly but passengers flying in the next 48 hours may cancel and get a refund.


14 Nov 09:25

No change in South African flights to France yet

There has been no immediate clarity on how flights between South Africa and France have been affected following the latest series of terror attacks in Paris.

The Airports Company of South Africa (ACSA) says it was up to individual airlines to decide whether they would keep to schedule or not, and did not have immediate information early on Saturday.


14 Nov 09:22
Watch as one of the explosions detonates outside the Stade de France during a France v Germany football match:

14 Nov 09:14

14 Nov 09:08
PICS: Police, medics out in full force after Paris terror attacks kill more than 150

14 Nov 09:07

French citizens meanwhile are taking to social media to find friends and relatives, search for shelter and tell the world they were safe on Saturday.

Internet users posted appeals on Twitter to find their loved ones who had been at the scenes of the bloodshed, including at the Stade de France stadium and a rock gig at the Bataclan theatre.

"If anyone has news of Lola, aged 17, at #Bataclan this evening, contact us," read one post, while another expressed concern for a friend Thibault, who was also at the concert. "He's not getting back to me: help me", it read.

Eight attackers struck numerous locations around the capital, leaving at least 153 people dead on Friday night, the bloodiest such incident in Europe for more than a decade. - AP


14 Nov 08:36
The City of Paris has told citizens on Twitter to say indoors and wait for more information, following the aftermath of the latest series of Paris attacks.

14 Nov 08:32

14 Nov 08:30
Nations across the world show their unity with the victims in the wake of the latest Paris attacks...

14 Nov 08:28

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has cancelled trips to France and Italy after terror attacks in Paris that has killed over 140 people.

French President Francois Hollande meanwhile has cancelled a G20 summit that was due to be held in the city later this month.


14 Nov 08:16

World leaders react to latest Paris attack

US President Barack Obama:

Obama is calling the attacks on Paris "outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians" and is vowing to do whatever it takes to help bring the perpetrators to justice.

Speaking to reporters at the White House, Obama said he would not speculate about who was responsible. He called the attacks a "heartbreaking situation" and an "attack on all of humanity."  

British Prime Minister David Cameron:

Cameron says he is "shocked" by the Paris attacks and violence. Cameron said on Twitter: "Our thoughts and prayers are with the French people. We will do whatever we can to help."  

German Chancellor Angela Merkel:

Merkel says she is "deeply shaken by the news and pictures that are reaching us from Paris." The German leader issued a statement saying her thoughts were with the victims "of the apparent terrorist attack."



14 Nov 08:06

How Facebook's "Safety Check" works.



14 Nov 08:01
A video by a CBS journalist in New York showing French airline passengers eager to get home at JFK airport.

14 Nov 07:59
Where the six known Paris attacks happened:

14 Nov 07:54

Facebook also offered its "Safety Check" feature to allow users who listed to mark themselves as safe if they listed Paris as their location.

Earlier in the evening, Parisians used the hashtag #portesouvertes, or "open doors," to offer a place to stay for people who were evacuated from the sites of the attacks.

In the US, some used the hashtag #strandedinUS to offer shelter for people who were unable to travel back to France. - AP


14 Nov 07:54

Friends and relatives are using social media to search for loved ones feared to have been at the sites of the Paris attacks.

"We are looking for Marie, who was at the Bataclan, we have no news from her. If you see her, please contact me #Bataclan", reads one tweet from @Photographys, posted with a photo.

"If you have news of Christophe aka @MokeComputer he was at Bataclan tonight and we need to hear from him," tweets a user named @Lorelei_Jade. - AP


14 Nov 07:48

People across the globe are responding to the horror of the latest Paris attacks on social media.

#PrayForParis is currently tending worldwide on Twitter.


14 Nov 07:38

14 Nov 07:27
VIDEO: Watch as bomb detonates during football match in string of Paris terror attacks

14 Nov 07:06

US President Barack Obama has spoken by phone to French President Francois Hollande to offer the condolences of the American people for the attacks in Paris.

The White House says in a statement Friday night that Obama has reiterated the United States' steadfast, unwavering support for the people of France, calling the nation America's oldest ally and friend.

Obama also has reaffirmed the offer of any necessary support to the French investigation.The White House says the two leaders have pledged to work together, and with nations around the world, to defeat the scourge of terrorism. - AP

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