Paris reeled Friday night from a shooting rampage, explosions and mass hostage-taking that President François Hollande called an unprecedented terrorist attack on France. He closed the borders and mobilized the military in a national emergency.
French television and news services quoted the police as saying at least 100 people had been killed at a concert hall, the Bataclan alone, dozens more outside the country’s main sports stadium where the President was watching a match, and at least five other popular locations in the city.
Witnesses on French television said the scene at the Bataclan where an American band, Eagles of Death Metal was playing, was a massacre.
A witness quoted by BFM television said he heard rounds of automatic rifle fire and someone shouting “Allahu akbar!” at The Bataclan.
French news media reported that Kalashnikov rifles had been involved in the shootings — a favoured weapon of militants who have attacked targets in France — and that many rounds had been fired.
Benjamin Cazenoves, one of between 60 and 100 people held captive during a rock concert, wrote on social media: ‘I’m still at the Bataclan. 1th floor. Hurt Bad! There are survivors inside. They are cutting down all the world. One by one.’
He added in another Facebook post: ‘Alive. Just cuts... Carnage... Dead bodies everywhere.’
Reports said that French security forces had successfully stormed the building, freed the surviving hostages and killed two terrorists.
There was no immediate claim of responsibility, but Twitter erupted with celebratory messages by members and sympathizers of the Islamic State, the extremist group based in Syria and Iraq that is under assault by major powers including the United States, France and Russia.
Meanwhile, President Obama in Washington came to the White House Briefing room to express solidarity and offer aid and condolences. “Once again, we’ve seen an outrageous attempt to terrorize innocent civilians,” he said. “This is an attack not just on Paris, it’s an attack not just on the people of France, but this is an attack on all of humanity and the universal values that we share.”
This is so sad!!