France plunged into chaos as terror attacks grip the country

By admin
14 November 2015

At least 120 people were killed in coordinated terrorist attacks on Paris, French prosecutors said early on Saturday.

Another 200 were injured, including 80 seriously, according to a source close the investigation. It was the deadliest terrorist attack on the French capital, according to broadcaster RTL.

At least 80 were shot dead at a concert venue, while attackers also carried out at least one suicide bombing near a sports stadium, several local media reported.

Eight assailants were killed, seven when they detonated their explosive belts, and one when he was shot by officers, police said. The Paris police chief earlier told reporters "all" the attackers died, and a hunt was on for any accomplices.

'In the face of terror, France has to be strong'

President Francois Hollande called the attacks "a terrible ordeal" and the government declared a state of emergency, tightened border controls and mobilised 1 500 soldiers.

"In the face of terror, France has to be strong," Hollande said.

Four attackers opened fire at cafes and restaurants outside the Bataclan concert hall, before entering the 1 500-capacity hall which was sold out for a concert of the US rock group Eagles of Death Metal, and firing on the audience shortly after 21:00 (20:00 GMT).

"They shot straight into the crowd while screaming 'Allahu Akbar,' with shotguns I think," a witness named Louis told France Info. Another witness told AFP he had heard an attacker mention France's military intervention in Syria, where it is targeting the Islamic State extremist group.

Police responded to what they called a hostage situation. Three of the attackers blew themselves up as police closed in, while the fourth was shot dead.

Hollande visited the scene after the police raid early Saturday, thanking emergency responders. The terrorists "have to be certain that they will find a determined France, a united France," he said.

Three explosions were also reported late Friday near the Stade de France football stadium, which was sold out for a friendly match between the French and German national teams. At least five people were reported dead in those explosions, including several terrorists according to RTL.

Hollande was at the football game as word of the attacks arrived.

German coach Joachim Loew told broadcaster ARD "we are all appalled and shocked."

Paris residents were instructed not to leave their homes unless absolutely necessary, while part of the city's public transport network was shut down. The state of emergency was the first since the 2005 riots in the Paris suburbs.

The events come 10 months after 17 people were killed in the French capital during terrorist attacks including on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, near the Bataclan venue.

Friday's attacks were met with international consternation and condemnation. German Chancellor Angela Merkel declared herself "deeply distressed" and "shocked."

Hollande cancelled his trip to Turkey for a G20 summit from Sunday, and will be represented by Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius and Finance Minister Michel Sapin.

Irish rock veterans U2 cancelled a concert in Paris planned for Saturday because of the attacks. DPA

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