Paris attacks: At least 153 killed in gunfire and blasts, French officials say
On a night when thousands of Paris residents and tourists were reveling and fans were enjoying a soccer match between France and world champion Germany, horror struck in an unprecedented manner.
France is under martial law with the president declaring a state of emergency. Its borders are closed in the midst of a series of attacks.
Terrorists — some with AK-47s, some reportedly with bombs strapped to them — attacked sites throughout the French capital and at the stadium where the soccer match was underway.
Scores were killed in the coordinated attacks late Friday, leaving a nation in mourning and the world in shock.
Paris Prosecutor spokeswoman Agnès Thibault-Lecuivre said eight extremists are dead after attacks. Seven of them were killed in suicide bombings.
U.S. President Barack Obama spoke with French President Francois Hollande to offer condolences and assistance in the investigation, the White House said.
Earlier, Obama said, “This is an attack not just on Paris, not just on the people on France, but an attack on all humanity and the universal values we share.”
He called the attacks an “outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians.”
A total of six locations were attacked in and just outside the capital, Paris prosecutor François Molins told reporters Saturday.
Five suspected attackers have been “neutralized,” said Molins. It was unclear whether that term meant the terrorists were dead.
A witness tells Radio France that attackers inside the Bataclan concert hall entered firing rifles and shouting “Allah akbar.”
At least 153 people were killed in the Paris and Saint-Denis shootings and bombings, French officials said. Saint-Denis is home to the national stadium where the soccer match was being played.
The worst carnage occurred at Bataclan, with at least 112 left dead.
A journalist who was at a rock concert there escaped and told CNN:
“We lied down on the floor not to get hurt. It was a huge panic. The terrorists shot at us for 10 to 15 minutes. It was a bloodbath.”
Julien Pearce didn’t hear the attackers speak, but he said one friend who escaped heard them talk about Iraq and Syria. Later, he said the men were speaking French. Two men dressed in black started shooting and after wounded people fell to the floor, the gunmen shot them again, execution-style, he said.
CNN affiliate BFMTV, citing French officials, said some gunmen were still at large.
Charlotte Brehaut and a friend were dining in Le Petit Cambodge, a Cambodian restaurant, when the shooting started from the street, she told CNN.
“All of a sudden we heard huge gunshots and glass coming through the windows. We ducked with the other diners,” she said.
She grabbed the arm of a woman on the floor. The woman didn’t respond. The woman was shot in the chest and there was blood all around her. At least 14 people were killed in Le Petit Cambodge, authorities said.
There is great alarm over the apparent methodology and likely planning that would have been needed to pull off such a series of attacks, one U.S. counterterrorism official told CNN.
The attacks resembled tactics that have been used by a number of terror groups — including al Qaeda’s focus on mass casualties and visibility, and the small, tactical nature of attacks that are more the hallmark of ISIS and its acolytes. It is still not clear who is responsible.
Russian leader Vladimir Putin sent his condolences to Hollande and the people of France.
“Russia strongly condemns this inhumane killing and is ready to provide any and all assistance to investigate these terrorist crimes,” he said.