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Paris attacked: Death toll rises to 129, with 352 injured

Three groups of attackers carried out ‘act of barbarism’


 
People lay flowers and light candles at the Place de la Republique square in Paris on November 14, 2015, following a series of coordinated attacks in and around Paris late on November 13. At least 128 people were killed in the Paris attacks on the evening of November 13, with 180 people injured, 80 of them seriously, police sources told AFP.  (MARTIN BUREAU/AFP/Getty Images)

People lay flowers and light candles at the Place de la Republique square in Paris on November 14, 2015, following a series of coordinated attacks in and around Paris late on November 13. (Martin Bureau/AFP/Getty Images)

PARIS — The Eiffel Tower stood dark in a symbol of mourning Saturday night as France struggled to absorb the deadliest violence on its soil since World War II: co-ordinated gun-and-suicide bombing attacks across Paris that left at least 129 people dead and 352 injured.

President Francois Hollande vowed that France would wage “merciless” war on the Islamic State group, which claimed responsibility for the mayhem, as investigators raced to track down their accomplices and uncovered possible links to networks in Belgium and Syria.

Paris prosecutor Francois Molins said three groups of attackers, including seven suicide bombers, carried out the “act of barbarism” that shattered a Parisian Friday night.

He said the attackers in the Bataclan concert hall, where 89 people died, mentioned Syria and Iraq during their rampage. Of the hundreds wounded in the six attacks, 99 were in critical condition.

Seven attackers launched gun attacks at Paris cafes, detonated suicide bombs near France’s national stadium and killed hostages inside the concert venue during a show by an American rock band — an attack on the heart of the pulsing City of Light.

On Sunday, French authorities say they have formally identified one of the suicide attackers at the national stadium and another man who attacked a restaurant in central Paris.

One of the men was 20 and the other was 31. Both were French nationals living in Belgium.

A third man, who died in the assault on the Bataclan concert hall, was identified earlier as 29-year-old Ismael Mostefai, a Frenchman with known ties to Islamic radicalism.

Ahsan Naeem, a 39-year-old filmmaker, said he’s been to many of the places that were attacked Friday.

“I’ve seen dozens of gigs at the Bataclan. Eaten at the Petit Cambodge. Sat outside Le Carillon on so many nights,” said Naeem, who has lived in Paris for seven years.

“All those places will have been full of my people. My friends. My acquaintances.”

Late Saturday, a crowd of up to 250 people gathered for an impromptu candlelight vigil at the Place de la Republique, the site of a massive demonstration in the wake of the Charlie Hebdo killings earlier this year.

Adrien Chambel, a 27-year-old law student, said the crowd was much sparser than in January. “You feel that people are petrified,” Chambel said.

Related: Why ISIS is more dangerous than ever

Hollande, who declared three days of national mourning and raised the nation’s security to its highest level, called the carnage “an act of war that was prepared, organized, planned from abroad with internal help.”

The president said France would increase its military efforts to crush IS. He said France — which is part of a U.S.-led coalition bombing suspected IS targets in Syria and Iraq and also has troops fighting Islamic militants in Africa — “will be merciless toward the barbarians of Islamic State group.”

The Islamic State group claimed responsibility in an online statement in Arabic and French circulated by supporters. It was not immediately possible to confirm the authenticity of the claim, which bore the group’s logo and resembled previous verified statements from the group.

The statement called Paris “the capital of prostitution and obscenity” and mocked France’s air attacks on suspected IS targets in Syria and Iraq, saying France’s air power was “of no use to them in the streets and rotten alleys of Paris.”

Related: ‘We should be horrified, but we shouldn’t be shocked,’ says extremism expert

Many of Paris’s top tourist attractions closed down Saturday, including the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre Museum and the Disneyland theme park east of the capital. Some 3,000 troops were deployed to help restore order and reassure a frightened populace.

Interior Minister Bernard Cazeneuve announced that all public demonstrations would be banned until Thursday and local governments throughout the country would have the option to impose nightly curfews.

The attacks, on an unusually balmy November Friday evening, struck at the heart of Parisian nightlife, including at a soccer match, which draws together spectators of all social classes and backgrounds.

Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo said the attacks had targeted the Paris of diversity, “probably because this example of living together, which is so strong in our city, is unbearable for fanatical people.”

Parisians expressed shock, disgust and defiance in equal measure. Some areas were quiet, but hundreds queued outside a hospital near the Bataclan concert hall to donate blood. As a shrine of flowers expanded along the sidewalk, a lone guitarist sang John Lennon’s peace ballad, “Imagine.”

Authorities said seven attackers died, six in suicide bombings, a new terror tactic in France. Authorities said police shot the other assailant, exploding his suicide vest. Police have detained two relatives of the one attacker who has been identified so far, the prosecutor’s spokeswoman said.

Molins, the prosecutor, said all seven attackers wore identical suicide vests containing the explosive TATP.

Molins said one was identified from fingerprints as a French-born man with a criminal record.

In addition, a Syrian passport found near the body of another attacker was linked to a man who entered the European Union through a Greek island last month.

Officials in Greece said the passport’s owner entered in October through Leros, one of the islands that tens of thousands of people fleeing war and poverty in Syria and elsewhere have been using as a gateway into the European Union. Molins said the Syria-linked attacker was not known to French intelligence services.

If the attack does involve militants who travelled to Europe amid millions of refugees from the Middle East, the implications could be profound.

Poland’s prospective minister for European affairs, Konrad Szymanski, said that in light of the attacks, Poland would not comply with an EU plan to accept refugees unless it received “guarantees of security.”

The attack brought an immediate tightening of borders as Hollande declared a state of emergency and announced renewed border checks. Germany also stepped up border checks.

Belgian authorities conducted raids in a Brussels neighbourhood and arrested three people near the border with France after a car with Belgian license plates was seen close to the Bataclan theatre. Molins said a French national was among the three arrested.

The militants launched six gun and bomb attacks over the course of 20 minutes Friday in areas of the capital packed with people.

Three suicide bombs targeted spots around the national Stade de France stadium, in the north of the capital, where Hollande was watching a France-Germany soccer match. Fans inside the stadium recoiled at the sound of explosions, but the match continued.

 

Around the same time, fusillades of bullets shook a trendy Paris neighbourhood as gunmen targeted a string of crowded cafes.

The attackers next stormed the Bataclan concert hall, which was hosting the American rock band Eagles of Death Metal. They opened fire on the panicked audience and took many hostage. As police closed in, three detonated explosive belts, killing themselves, according to Paris police chief Michel Cadot.

Another assailant detonated a suicide bomb on Boulevard Voltaire, near the music hall, the prosecutor’s office said.

Video shot by Le Monde reporter Daniel Psenney from his balcony captured scenes of panic as people fled the Bataclan, some bloodied and limping, others dragging two bodies. Three people could be seen clinging to upper-floor balcony railings in a desperate bid to stay out of the line of fire.

A tall 38-year-old concert-goer named Sylvain collapsed in tears as he described escaping from the chaos during a lull in gunfire.

“There were shots everywhere, in waves,” Sylvain told The Associated Press. “I lay down on the floor. I saw at least two shooters, but I heard others talk. They cried, ‘It’s Hollande’s fault.’ I heard one of the shooters shout, ‘Allahu Akbar.”‘

He spoke on condition that his full name not be used out of concern for his safety.

Related: Iconic monuments lit up in blue, white and red to show solidarity with Paris

The Paris carnage was the worst in a series of attacks claimed by the Islamic State group in the past three days. On Thursday, twin suicide bombings in Beirut killed at least 43 people and wounded more than 200, and 26 people died Friday in Baghdad in a suicide blast and a roadside bombing that targeted Shiites.

The militant group also said it bombed a Russian plane that crashed in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on Oct. 31, killing 224 people.

IS also suffered significant reversals this week, with Kurdish forces launching an offensive to retake the strategic Iraqi city of Sinjar and the U.S. military saying it had likely killed Mohammed Emwazi, the British-accented militant known as “Jihadi John” who is seen in grisly IS beheading videos. The Pentagon also said an American airstrike targeted and likely killed Abu Nabil, a top Islamic State leader in Libya.

France has been on edge since January, when Islamic extremists attacked the satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo, which had run cartoons of the Prophet Muhammad, and a kosher grocery. Twenty people died in those attacks, including three shooters.

Paris resident Olivier Bas was among several hundred people who gathered at the site of the Bataclan massacre Saturday, laying flowers and lighting candles only a few hundred yards (meters) from where a police officer was murdered during the Charlie Hebdo attacks.

Although Paris was quiet and jittery, Bas said that he intended to go out for a drink — “to show that they won’t win.”

Meanwhile, French authorities continued their investigation. They are particularly concerned about the threat from hundreds of French Islamic radicals who are known to have travelled to Syria and have returned home, potentially with skills to mount attacks.

“The big question on everyone’s mind is: Were these attackers — if they turn out to be connected to one of the groups in Syria — were they homegrown terrorists or were they returning fighters?” said Brian Michael Jenkins, a terrorism expert.


 

Paris attacked: Death toll rises to 129, with 352 injured

  1. Gee I guess us bombing them wasn’t such a good idea eh?

    • Attagirl Em. Side with the filth. Anyone anti-western or anti-colonial can always count on you for support. Your politics are more important to you than humanity, justice and decency, as always.

      • Ahh the immediate attack on me is your argument eh?

        Well the ME s not our country, dude. We don’t belong there.

        • So by extension, having been born in the ME myself, I don’t belong here? Or is it just a one way street with you?

          • Focus dude……the ME is not ours to invade or bomb, we don’t own it.

    • So, the thousands of Yazidis that were exterminated or enslaved was someone else’s problem? Human rights just end at a border do they? You must then agree that the Holocaust was something between the Nazis and the Jews and no one else need’ve bothered. Great mindset where rights are geographically relative and anything can be justified with culture.

      • I’m glad that Emily is being displayed as what she really is-a parochial troll.

        • Emily has always believed in ‘One world, one race…..human….and no borders’

          Where have YOU been?

          • What steps is Canada taking to ensure our safety? It has to be more than the offer of warm coats and hugs. I have fear because I do not believe the new Liberal Government has the experience or “smarts: to protect us.

          • No borders huh? That trumps your earlier point about “not our land”. It’s then worth pointing out that human rights are universal and when a group is being slaughtered or displaced by a fascist organization, the rest of humanity has an obligation to put a stop to it.

          • then you should wake up and smell reality dude.

          • Emily has always defended the right of Vlad Putin to bomb anyone he pleases. Emily is appalled by the treatment of first nations people in Canada but seems to have no empathy for women in the ME who are typically stoned to death if they are a victim of rape. Emily forgets that her champion Jean Chretien marched into Afghanistan and offered Canadian aid in Iraq to Bush so if we Canadians get bombed, Jean brought on on us. At least Emily lives in the most populous province so should the ISIL come after Canada, it will likely hit the area Emily lives. Cheers.

  2. The problem is not as Emily stated, it is the proliferation of this twisted belief system and the overwhelming numbers of people that are brainwashed in it moving to the western world to better their lives but refuse to accept the way of life here and then demand to change all us infidels or kill us.
    This has nothing to do with the fighting in the ME.

    The European countries are being overwhelmed with the number of immigrants from the ME. We will be too shortly as the new liberal gov’t is determined to bring the same problems here.

    It would be nice for at least some of these refugees and immigrants and their Clerics to denounce this radicalism for what it is but their silence is deafening.

    So Emily you are not seeing the forest for the trees. This terrorism has been exported around the world for years just read the papers or watch TV news.

    • You have gotten lost in the Middle Ages…..try looking on this very site for the places France alone has bombed…..recently.

      The ME is simply retaliating.

      Governments and clerics in the ME and here have denounced these actions many times.
      You’re NOT listening.

      • Emily, you are just unreal. I note on the news this AM that one of the bombers left a passport that showed he was an Syrian refugee. You just don’t get it.

        As far as I am concerned it vindicates Harper’s bombing op ISIS and the tightened security members. How many of those 25000 “refugees” are going to have shady political backgrounds. Trudeau is just a babe in the woods and his followers are equally naive. Perhaps he will see the light now.

        As for Emily (dudess) she is beyond belief.

        • What country did YOUR family come from?

        • Syrian, yes. That doesn’t make him a refugee though. Have yet to see anything that says he was.

  3. How close are many Syrian refugees in Europe — where they are generally feared and very disliked — to returning home as civil war conditions change, and Assad takes advantage of quickly changing conditions.
    Free Syrian Army decimated by desertions, says a recent Al Jazeera story. In Aleppo, the rebel group has weakened as fighters leave due to low pay, poor conditions and fragmentation.
    Hmmm. This lack of international support for the FSA will eventually result in it joining the Assad army particularly when Assad offers the defectors immunity as well as cash and food to support their families.  It is just a matter of time.  After it happens many ISIS fighters will  quietly ask for the same consideration — and be given it  thereby severely weakening the group and, as is already beginning to happen now that it is clear that Europe and America don’t want them, mean many if not most Syrian refugees will quickly return home, helped, no doubt, by free transportation and a small bundle of cash to rebuild, provided by the European Union.  All this will happen in the next couple of years if not sooner due to the Paris attack.
    Formed in August 2011 at the start of the Syrian civil war, the FSA comprises mainly defectors from the Syrian military. The group is viewed as moderate compared with the Islamist rebel groups that later emerged.

  4. I guess none of you believe in the principle of self-defense.

    That’s what we did in WWII…..and it’s what the ME is doing now

    • And there we have it. Emily believes the IS terrorist attacks on innocent French nationals is equivalent to the allied efforts of WWII. As if we needed any further confirmation of her precarious mental state, she offers up this.

  5. Next time you see someone wearing a black hood, just don’t worry because it’s not against the law.

    • No, my black ski ski-mask and hoodie are perfectly legal

      Any other clothing items you’re afraid of?

      • I’d wear a disguise too if I were you.

        • Tsk….all the excuses people make for being stupid on here.

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