Paris attacks: At least 120 killed as police hunt terrorists
UPDATED Monday 16th 8am: Paris attacks: Police reveal Belgian connection, death toll rises to 132
UPDATED Sunday 15th 8AM: Paris attacks: Police believe all gunmen are dead
EARLIER Sat 11PM:A series of terrorist attacks in Paris have claimed at least 120 lives and injured many more. Earlier reports said the death toll could be as high as 158.
In a coordinated wave of gun and suicide bomb attacks, the terrorists killed dozens at a rock concert in Bataclan and set off a series of blasts near the Stade de France where France was playing Germany at soccer.
President François Hollande declared a state of emergency and closed the borders, saying there were “unprecedented terror attacks under way in Paris.”
Authorities immediately warned people to leave public events and stay indoors while the military forces were deployed throughout the city.
The Metro was closed and roads were sealed off by armed police. Some 1500 soldiers have been drafted in to help secure the city.
Authorities also announced that all public places would be closed from November 14: all schools, museums, libraries, gyms, swimming pools, public markets and more.
Dozens were killed in drive-by shootings in at least two restaurants and in other public places around Paris.
The biggest death toll, between 80 and 100, occurred at the rock concert.
A French radio reporter described the scene inside the Bataclan theatre, where US group Eagles of Death Metal was to perform.
He said gunmen opened fire inside the concert venue in the 11th arrondissement and many in the crowd were held hostage before armed police stormed the venue, killing two or three of the attackers.
Two gunmen dressed in black entered the theatre with what appeared to be AK-47s and started shooting, the reporter said. After wounded people fell, the gunmen began to execute them. It lasted for 10 to 15 minutes, according to the reporter, who managed to escape. "It was a bloodbath," he said.
The French TV station BFMTV said the gunmen who attacked the Bataclan had shouted “It’s for Syria” before opening fire, though no Islamic terrorist group has claimed responsibility for the attacks.
Suicide attacks at stadium
Police said two of the incidents near the stadium involved suicide attacks, with three or four people reported to be killed.
The attacks come 10 months after 20 people died during attacks by Islamist gunmen on the offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, located close to the Bataclan theatre, and a kosher supermarket.
President Hollande was attending the football game at the Stade de France when the attacks began. The blasts around the stadium could be heard by the crowd, causing panic as people spilled into the field and the PA announcer asked people to avoid certain exits.
He cancelled plans to attend this weekend’s G20 summit in Turkey and convened an urgent cabinet meeting before making the TV address in which he declared a state of emergency.
“This is a terrible ordeal that again assails us,” he said. “We know where it comes from, who these criminals are, who these terrorists are.”
He said the attackers wanted “to scare us and fill us with dread”. He added: “There is dread, but in the face of this dread, there is a nation that knows how to defend itself, that knows how to mobilise its forces and, once again, will defeat the terrorists.”
The state of emergency would be in force across France, he said, meaning some places might be closed and people searched.
“The second decision I have made is to close the borders. We must ensure that no one enters to commit any crimes and that those who have committed the crimes that we have unfortunately seen can also be arrested if they should leave the territory.”
World leaders condemn attacks
The events brought immediate international condemnation, with the US president, Barack Obama, calling it “an attack on all of humanity and the universal values we share”.
He said the US was ready to help “our oldest ally.”
“Those who think they can terrorise France or their values are wrong,” he said. “Liberté, égalité and fraternité are values that we share, and they are going to endure far beyond any act of terrorism.”
German chancellor Angela Merkel said she was “deeply shaken by the news and pictures that are reaching us from Paris.”
UK Prime Minister David Cameron, who is still expected to travel to the G20 summit, said he was shocked by the events.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with the French people. We will do whatever we can to help.”
Paris has 50,000 police to provide security for the world climate summit in a fortnight and they have been on alert for terrorist attacks.