In a sequence of coordinated terror attacks in Paris, at least 127 were killed and over 300 wounded. The Islamic State (ISIS) claimed credit for the attacks.
In a drastic and unprecedented measure, French President Francois Hollande sealed off France’s borders in response to the attacks. He declared three days of national mourning and put the national security level at its highest level. A state of emergency has been declared and protests are forbidden by the government while curfews are being considered.
Hollande called the attack, “an act of war that was prepared, organized, planned from abroad with internal help.” He vowed to increase attacks against ISIS and said France “will be merciless toward the barbarians of Islamic State group.”
The first attack was at France’s national soccer stadium, during a match between France and Germany. At 9:20pm local time, an explosion went off. President Hollande was in attendance but was uninjured.
Five minutes later, shooting broke out in Bichat Street in the center of the city. 14 people were killed and 20 were wounded, ten seriously.
A second shooting occurred at Avenue de la Republique at 9:29pm. Four people were killed, 21 wounded, ten seriously.
At 9:30 pm, a second explosion went off at the soccer stadium, and the spectators were gathered on the grass field to avoid panic at the exits.
At 9:38pm, a third shooting occurred at Charonne Street, not far from the first two shootings. 19 people were killed, 23 wounded, ten seriously.
At 9:43pm, a suicide bomber exploded on Voltaire Boulevard.
At 9:49, shooting and explosions began at the site with the most casualties, the Bataclan Concert Hall, where four gunmen armed with automatic weapons and explosive vests killed 118 people. 1,500 had gathered for a concert by US rock band Eagles of Death Metal. The terrorists in the theater took approximately 20 hostages and the police stormed the theater. The terrorists spoke to the victims, blaming President Hollande for France’s actions against Iraq and Syria.
At 9:53, a third and final bomb went off at the soccer stadium. It has been reported that all of the 8 bombs were set off by suicide bombers.
At 10 pm, the series of attacks ended with a shooting on Beaumarchais Street, in which seven people were injured, 3 seriously.
A statement by ISIS posted online said:
“France should know, and anyone who follows her path, that she will continue to be at the head of the Islamic State target list. Death will not pass by them as long as they continue to lead the crusader attacks. They dared insult our prophet and gloated about their war against Islam in France, and attacked the Muslims on the land of the caliphate with their plans. This invasion was the first of many and a warning to those who don’t want to learn their lesson.”
It has been reported that at least one of the attackers spoke French and may have been a French national. Syrian and Egyptian passports have been found at the scene of the attacks. There has been much speculation about what role local Muslims had in the attacks, and there are reported to be at present at least 500 French nationals fighting with ISIS in Syria and Iraq. At least 250 French have returned to France after fighting with ISIS, and there are reported to be another 750 who are waiting to join ISIS.
Le Figaro newspaper reported the attacks with the headline, “War in central Paris” and Le Pen ran the headline, “This time it’s war.”
17 people were killed in January in the Charlie Hebdo massacres, which also targeted a Kosher market.